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Climate Talks Moving Toward No Rules for China, India

By Kim Chipman

 Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- China, India and other developing countries probably won't be required to take on legally binding commitments to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions under a new climate-change treaty, a United Nations official said today.

``The debate about binding commitments for developing countries is not off the table, but it's crawling towards the edge,'' said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is overseeing the negotiations.

Almost 200 countries are gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali this week and next to begin talks for a new treaty to replace the emissions-limiting Kyoto Protocol when it expires in five years. The negotiations are focused on the question of how much developing nations should contribute to efforts to curb global warming, a debate that's raged for more than a decade.

The U.S. has refused to join the 1997 Kyoto accord in part because China and other rapidly emerging economies aren't required under the treaty to make the same pollution cuts as industrialized nations. The U.S. and China are the world's largest emitters of global warming pollution.

China and other developing countries say they shouldn't be required to meet the same standard as developed countries because they are in the early stages of trying to fuel economic growth to pull billions of people out of poverty. The European Union and environmentalists agree, though they say they want to see stronger efforts from the countries in a new climate accord.

No Commitment Needed

``China doesn't need to commit at this time,'' said Artur Runge-Metzger, head of climate strategy for the European Commission. ``What we expect from China is massively improving energy efficiency.''

Both industrialized and developing countries so far are ``talking a lot about real measurable and verifiable'' steps emerging economies can take to curb emissions without taking on mandatory reductions, de Boer told reporters today. Those measures include improving energy efficiency and working toward renewable energy goals, he said.

Such actions would be ``capitalized at least in part through international financial flows,'' de Boer said.

Financial incentives could come both from a global carbon emissions trading market and ``government-to-government'' cooperation, de Boer said.

The focus on providing greater incentives for developing nations comes as countries such as India argued earlier this week that climate talks shouldn't even start before industrialized countries lived up to their previous promises to help poorer nations deal with the effects of climate change.

They are concerned that developed nations will forget their commitments at the same time they expect more to be done by poorer nations, de Boer said in an interview yesterday.

``In a way it's a double whammy where commitments from the past aren't met and going into the future something may be arranged that could hurt them economically,'' de Boer said.

So, I ask, 'Why SHOULD we care IF there are ANY other countries that don't HAVE to care?' To me it is the same as telliing a poor person that they don't NEED to follow the SAME laws THAT the RICH do, BECAUSE THEY ARE POOR!!!' Where does THAT make sense?!?!

I am what I am and that's ALL what I am!
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