Climate talks end in stalemate

Posted: 4 November 2002

The latest United Nations climate talks ended in New Delhi on November 1, 2002, with little progress in tackling the urgent problems posed by global warming.

The negotiations around the Kyoto process made little headway with "the United States and Saudi Arabia manipulating every disagreement to drive a wedge between industrialised and developing countries", according to Friends of the Earth International.

Although governments acknowledged the need for further action faced with stark science, they "failed to establish a process to even begin discussing how to fulfil the objective of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change".

According to FOE, this failure is reflected in the weak Delhi Declaration which contains:

  • No progress on energy - with recycled text from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) mentioning both fossil fuels and renewable energy

  • No new text on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the scientific body that reports to the UN on climate change), only a preamble saying its findings should be considered in the negotiations process

  • A call to industrialised countries to take action to fulfil the Convention objectives on long-term emission cuts - but no mention on whether more countries will eventually need to take action

  • No renewed sense of urgency on taking forward the Kyoto Protocol, with again recycled text from the World Summit.

The New Delhi talks also failed to make progress on other issues:

  • Contentious funding issues have been only partially resolved or deferred.

  • Negotiations on rules for the use of sinks in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects have been deferred.
But reporting rules for industrialised and developing countries were adopted in New Delhi and an international programme for publiceducation and awareness agreed.

There was also progress from a coalition of "like-minded" countries, including the EU and Brazil, who agreed to pursue work on renewable energy targets outside the UN climate process.

Friends of the Earth International climate campaigner Kate Hamptonn said: "Once again, the nations of the world have failed to take the steps needed to stop climate catastrophe. Millions of people around the world will pay for their delay, as emissions continue to rise.

"But it could have been worse, given the efforts of the fossil fuel lobby in the Saudi Arabian and US delegations to kill Kyoto. Governments must do their homework before the next round of talks and build North-South trust to move forward with urgency."

See also FOE