Nations Heading to Durban Climate Talks Remain Deeply Divided - NYTimes.com
U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres lauded a climate change meeting in Panama as "good progress" this weekend, even as environmental activists warned that the world's only structure for curbing greenhouse gas emissions appears about to crumble.
"South Africa is the tipping point in terms of the future of the climate regime," said Tasneem Essop, international climate policy advocate for the World Wildlife Fund in South Africa.
Figueres on Friday lauded the European Union for helping to launch "constructive discussions" and said "governments are exploring those middle-ground solutions that would allow them to go forward with a second commitment period."
Yet the United States, which is not a party to Kyoto but as the world's largest historic carbon emitter is central to the future of the climate regime, appears to be putting the kibosh on such a compromise.
Speaking at a wrap-up press conference in Panama, U.S. Deputy Envoy Jonathan Pershing acknowledged that "the uncertainty over a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is a source of anxiety for many parties." But in describing the E.U. proposal, Pershing said, "We do not believe that conditions are ripe in Durban for a legally binding agreement."