ECO often chastises parties for too much talk and not enough action. However, yesterday’s vexed AWG-KP contact group on legal matters showed that sometimes refusing to talk blocks forward progress. If we are ever going to secure a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol – the only legally binding targets and timetables within reach – countries will need to talk about the legal steps to get there.
Therefore, we just don’t understand the refusal of the African Group, Bolivia, Brazil, China, India and Saudi Arabia to discuss legal matters in the KP (well, we do understand the Saudis and we simply don’t agree). Such inflexibility makes a second KP commitment period that much harder to secure.
ECO has heard many developing countries say they don’t want to kill the KP, and we surely want it to live too. In fact, lessons from the first commitment period ought to be reflected in amendments that make it even stronger. Inserting numbers in an Annex is crucial, but should not be the totality of the discussion. Let the legal talks and ambitious emission cuts begin!