Gordon Brown calls for new group to police global environment issues

The Times
21.12.2009
By Ben Webster, Francis Elliott

A new global body dedicated to environmental stewardship is needed to prevent a repeat of the deadlock which undermined the Copenhagen climate change summit, Gordon Brown will say tomorrow.

The UN’s consensual method of negotiation, which requires all 192 countries to reach agreement, needs to be reformed to ensure that the will of the majority prevails, he feels.

The Prime Minister will say: “Never again should we face the deadlock that threatened to pull down those talks. Never again should we let a global deal to move towards a greener future be held to ransom by only a handful of countries. One of the frustrations for me was the lack of a global body with the sole responsibility for environmental stewardship.

“I believe that in 2010 we will need to look at reforming our international institutions to meet the common challenges we face as a global community.” The summit failed to produce a political agreement among all the countries. Delegates instead passed a motion on Saturday “taking note” of an accord drawn up the night before by five countries: the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

Mr Miliband pointed the finger of blame at China for resisting a legal agreement and its rejection of a proposal for 50 per cent cut in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Efforts to give legal force to the commitments in the Copenhagen accord came up against “impossible resistance from a small number of developing countries, including China, who didn’t want a legal agreement”, he said.

“The fact is that we have got fast-start finance of $10 billion a year flowing as a result of this agreement.” He said it was important that countries had agreed for the need to make emissions cuts, even though they had failed to commit to specific targets.

In the accord

Agreement that “deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science”

“Long co-operative action” needed to keep the global temperature increase below 2C

Rich countries should submit proposals for economy-wide emission reduction targets for 2020 to the UN by January 31

By the same date, developing countries should produce plans to cut the rate of growth of their emissions

There should be international monitoring of any emission cuts in developing countries that are funded by rich countries

A reassessment of the accord by 2015 to check whether emission reductions are on track to keep the temperature increase below 2C

Consideration in 2015 of strengthening the goal to 1.5C

Not in the accord

Emission targets, either for 2020 or 2050

Any deadline for turning the accord into a binding treaty

Agreement on an international body to verify the emissions reported by each country


Full article

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