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(Today in Barcelona) Africa boycott U.N. climate talks, demands CO2 cuts
03 nov 2009
BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) - African nations boycotted U.N. climate talks on Tuesday in a protest to urge rich countries to set deeper 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Meetings about extending the U.N.'s carbon-cutting Kyoto Protocol, one of two tracks for a new global climate deal due to be agreed in Copenhagen next month, were all canceled by the protests at the November 2-6 conference in Barcelona.

"Africa believes that the other groups are not taking talks seriously enough, not urgently enough," said Kabeya Tshikuku, of the Democratic Republic of Congo delegation.

Kyoto binds all industrialized nations except the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions until 2012. Developing nations say that the key to any new deal in Copenhagen is far deeper 2020 cuts by developed nations than on offer so far.

"The chair is undertaking consultations on the schedule of meetings...under the Kyoto Protocol," a statement said.

Several meetings were canceled on Monday night after the protest, which was led by countries including Ethiopia, Algeria and Gambia. A parallel set of talks, on commitments for other nations including the United States, were held as usual.

African nations accuse rich nations of failing to do enough to combat climate change that is likely to hit the poor hardest with more hunger and water shortages in Africa by triggering floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.


Developing countries also say rich nations want to "kill Kyoto" by merging it into a broader global pact. They see that as an attempt to force poor countries to do more.

"They've not walked out. They're saying let's focus on the real issues, which is targets for developed countries," said Alf Wills, head of the South African delegation.

He said that countries such as in Europe, Japan or Canada were "not prepared to talk about numbers under the Kyoto Protocol. We're getting delaying tactics, technical issues."

Artur Runge-Metzger, head of the European Commission delegation, said that the European Union sympathized up to a point with the protest.

But he said there were other issues that can be discussed in Barcelona about the future workings of the Kyoto Protocol, such as the role of carbon absorbing forests or land clearance.

And blocking talks was self-defeating for the African nations just over a month before Copenhagen.

"To start now blocking the negotiations will certainly not get us to a result," he said.

So far, developed nations are offering cuts in emissions of between 11 and 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Many developing countries say the cuts should be at least 40 percent to avoid the worst of climate change.
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Re: (Today in Barcelona) Africa boycott U.N. climate talks, demands CO2 cuts
04 nov 2009
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