Don’t meddle after deciding to withdraw, developing countries tell US

Amitabh Sinha
Don’t meddle after deciding to withdraw, developing countries tell US

During a demonstration in Madrid. (AP)

A number of developing countries on Saturday took exception to the United States’ efforts in trying to steer the negotiations in meeting rooms, saying it no longer had a stake in the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, having walked out of it.

The US had announced its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement within months of Donald Trump becoming president. In the first week of November, the US had formally moved an application for withdrawal. The withdrawal will be effective from November 4 next year.

“The US is sitting in meeting rooms and trying to influence the agenda. This was objected to in several meetings today, by Tuvalu on behalf of small island nations, by some African group countries, and also by India and some other developing countries,” an Indian negotiator said.

“They would be out of the Paris Agreement by next year, so it is not right for them to influence decisions...” he said.

The US remains a party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the mother agreement on climate change. Annual climate change talks, like the one in Madrid, include meetings on issues relating to framework agreement as well as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, the two international climate arrangements that the framework gave birth to. The US is not a party to the Kyoto Protocol either, having never ratified it. From next year, the US will only be able to attend meetings under the framework agreement, and not those under the Paris Agreement. The Kyoto Protocol is expiring next year.

Meanwhile, India on Saturday reiterated its demand that the unfulfilled promises of the developed countries in the pre-2020 period, under the Kyoto Protocol, must not be forgotten now that the Kyoto Protocol was ending.

“None of the developed countries are fulfilling their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, while now everyone is being asked to do more, be more ambitious, under the Paris Agreement. But there should be greater emphasis on delivery of commitments. We had promised a set of actions under the Paris Agreement, and all current analyses by independent international agencies show India is one of the best performers on its climate action plan. Developed countries, however, have failed us consistently,” India’s Environment Secretary C K Mishra said.

India, along with some other countries, is demanding that the final decisions of these talks should include provisions calling on developed parties to fulfill their Kyoto Protocol targets.

A week into negotiations, the Madrid talks have reported little progress on their main agenda — an agreement over the creation of a new carbon market under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Carbon markets allow countries to trade emissions reductions between themselves. A country which is over-achieving its targets can do more and sell its extra efforts, translated into carbon credits, to a country that is struggling to meet its targets.

India and some other countries have been demanding that their unsold carbon credits from Kyoto Protocol regime should be transitioned to the new market under the Paris Agreement, a demand that is opposed by the developed world, which has been raising questions over the “quality” of the carbon credits under Kyoto Protocol.