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EU committed to second commitment of Kyoto Protocol: delegate

12-08-2011 13:46 BJT Special Report:Durban Climate Change Conference |

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) is committed to the second commitment of Kyoto Protocol even if major economies refuse to do so, a senior EU official said on Wednesday.

"The EU has put an significant offer on the table even if other countries are not ready to the second commitment of Kyoto Protocol which took us so many years to build up," said Connie Hedegaad, member of the European Commission.

The EU hoped that "others will join us in the legally binding framework," Hedegaard said, adding that "we need more constructive dialogue" with other major economies.

"We need to know how far they are willing to go," she told a press briefing on the sidelines of COP 17, or the 17th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"The last two days of Durban must be used to make progress," she stressed.

"We're committed to the second commitment even when the U.S., Canada, Japan and Russia have said they are not," Hedegaard said.

"That is a proof that European Union wants to show leadership here," she said.

Those who are not committed today and will not be committed tomorrow are taking "an unbearable responsibility" and will face "very very serious consequences," she said in apparent reference to other developed countries which reject the second commitment.

"It will take us longer (time) than any of us can imagine" to solve the current issues if the Durban climate talks failed, she said.

The EU said previously that Europe could accept a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, provided the United States and other major economies show they are serious about major cuts in the coming years.

Hedegaard's remarks were seen as EU's willingness to make a compromise. "We're going to go an extra mile," Hedegaard said.

But Hedegaard made it clear that the second commitment and the EU Road Map should be interlinked.

She was referring to an EU proposal calling for a timetable for everyone to make emission cut commitments by 2015. The proposal also wants all major emitters to be part of a legally binding agreement after 2020.

When asked to define the differences between the EU and the US in dealing with climate change, Hedegaard said one big difference is that the former has decreased emissions since 1990s while the latter has increased emissions.

Another significant difference is that EU is part of Kyoto Protocol and is willing to accept the second commitment, while the US has withdrawn from the pact and opposes the second commitment, she said.

One more difference is that "the United States does not want a legally binding deal," she said.

In response to a question about what commitment the EU would be to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Hedegaard said that "first of all the fund must be operational".

Only when the fund was set up, countries would know how much money they would put into it, she said.

"Before the end of the conference, you'll hear what difference pledges European countries will make to the fund," she said without elaboration.

The GCF was agreed to at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico last year. It requires developed countries to provide 100 billion dollars to poorer countries by 2020 to help them cope with carbon emissions and adapt to climate change.

Efforts to negotiate a deal hit snags after US rejected a fund- raising proposal, citing concerns about how the money would be raised, its transparency and the way it is governed.

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Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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