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Beijing Review Exclusive
Special> 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: December 3, 2012 Web Exclusive
No breakthrough at Doha Climate Talks
By Yu Shujun

The first week of the Doha climate change conference concluded without any substantial developments, said China's chief climate negotiator Su Wei, in Doha, Qatar, on December 1.

No consensus has been reached on time periods, emission targets, timely implementation and several other technical issues of the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period, said Su.

The length of the time period and the emission targets are related. While the EU insists on installing an eight-year period, it has no plans to raise its 20 percent- emission targets by 2020 and set the conditions for a 30-percent cut. Small island states prefer the second period being one of five years, so that developed countries can meet the targets within a condensed period.

How to ensure the actual implementation of the second commitment period on January 1, 2013, also presented participants with a key matter. The regular ratification process of the amendment to the Kyoto Protocol by all parties is very complicated and will in fact take up more time than the length of the second period.

Over the past week, discussions revolved around whether a temporary application of the amendment, acceptable by International Law, can be adopted through a decision by all parties; or that all parties can make the political commitment to the implementation of the amendment once it's been passed, according to Su.

Technical issues, including that of how to transfer emission credits of economies in transition into the second period, remain to be solved. The EU, the Group of 77 and China have all agreed to find a solution, said Su. But to those countries who will not enter the second period, it goes that they should fulfill their commitments of the Clean Development Mechanism to offset what they should have originally done during the second period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Funding was a key topic of discussion for the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Long-term Cooperative Action, which includes transparency of the fast-starting funds, whether or not these have been submitted and how they have been put to use over the past three years. A final question remains that of whether or not the developed countries will contribute an annual fund of $100 billion from 2013 to 2020.

"Negotiations next week will be more intense, but it yet remains unclear whether any real breakthrough can be achieved," said Su.

(Reporting from Doha)

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