Brazil diplomat has hope for treaty

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Securing a guarantee for an extension of the Kyoto Protocol is crucial for the nations to move the current climate negotiations forward, said Sergio B. Serra, Brazil's ambassador for climate change during an interview with China Daily on Wednesday.

But countries such as Japan, which are pushing the countries to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, are blocking the progress of the negotiations in Cancun, he added.

"The reluctance of some countries for the second period of the Kyoto Protocol is the biggest stumbling block," said Serra repeatedly during the interview.

On Monday, Japanese representatives announced that Japan would favor starting a new treaty and that it would not honor the second period of the Kyoto Protocol.

They claimed that the Kyoto Protocol was "outdated" because the countries subjected to the emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol accounted for only 27 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

This is "the only binding treaty that we have to assure transparency and compliance with targets by developed countries," said Serra, who has been involved in the climate change negotiations before the Bali talks in 2007.

"We have agreed to the Bali Roadmap for inscribing actions by developing countries, such Brazil and China, and the United States, although it (the US) is not a member of the Kyoto Protocol," he said, emphasizing that Japan also signed the Bali Roadmap.

"We have to keep these negotiations going according to (the Bali Roadmap), which we all accepted before and which includes the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol," he said.

Asked how Brazil reacts to the increasing demand for emissions reductions by developed nations, the Brazilian climate change ambassador said: "This is to be expected. We didn't expect otherwise."

"The US decided not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and it used as an excuse that developing countries do not have a target under it," he explained. "So these pressures are there, but on the other hand, you have to see that developing countries such as China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico are making very serious efforts to control their emissions.

China, which ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2002, is not obligated to reduce greenhouse gas production right now since it, like India, is a developing country.

Now, Serra said, emerging economies have also accepted what was asked of them, which was a system of transparency. "In a way, the demands from the developed world were met," he said. "So if these negotiations are not moving forward, it is not because of developing countries."

He said that emerging economies such as Brazil, South Africa, India and China have played a constructive role in pushing the talks forward.

International consultation and analysis was not in the Bali Action Plan, which stipulated only measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas emissions, demanding that developing nations must get their mitigation actions checked.

However, the Copenhagen Accord required that developing nations must also adopt international consultation and analysis for their self-supported unilateral emissions reductions.

"(International consultation and analysis) is a form of MRV. That's a big compromise," he said. "We would like to see similar compromises on the other side - the developed nations."

He said success at the Cancun climate change conference depends largely on the expectations people have. For those who expect having a legally binding agreement, Cancun will not be able to deliver and they will be disappointed, he said.

"You have to be realistic about what we can achieve," he said. "We can obtain good decisions. There will not be a big legally binding agreement at this stage, but that doesn't mean we cannot move forward."

He said the Cancun talks will likely move forward with decisions on financing, adaptation and short-term financing. A lot of assistance will go to smaller and vulnerable countries to help them cope with climate change.

But he expects "having a guarantee that there will be a second period of the Kyoto Protocol" to move forward.

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