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Binding agreement expected at COP 17

Updated: 2011-12-09 09:05
( Xinhua)

Binding agreement expected at COP 17

US Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern addresses the media during a news conference at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) meeting in Durban December 8, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

DURBAN, South Africa - Deference or no deference, political interests or no political ambitions, negotiating parties at the ongoing COP 17 meeting must agree to save the earth, said many participants at the UN climate change conference in Durban, South Africa.

Although negotiators are still "trying to find each other" behind closed doors and its only 24 hours to go, people at the conference are "optimistic" that they will put political and economic interests aside to save "our children and grand- grand children" from the impacts of climate change.

"We hope that the EU and all other parties will commit to the second commitment of the KP (Kyoto Protocol) which is why we are here. If this conference collapse and end without a concrete agreement on KP that will be a shame and disappointment," Time for Climate Justice (TCJ) Campaigns Manager Laura Trevelyan said in an interview with Xinhua.

She and her movement was staging a mock wedding of "Kyoto to the European Union" at the main entrance to the conference center.

"But we are still hopeful that they will agree because the poor and developing are looking up to this conference," Trevelyan told Xinhua as some of her members continue to distribute papers printed "Mr. and Mrs United Nations cordially invite you to the wedding of their beloved protocol."

On Thursday morning, Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN) Chairperson Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu told journalists that negations are going smoothly although reports of sharp deference among negotiators are emerging.

Japan, Canada and the United States are against the second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol.

"I am optimistic they (negotiators) will come to some form of agreement," Mediation Beyond Borders (MBB) Conflict Resolution Ambassador Suzanna Anstine Norbeck said.

"They will agree to something because we have to do something for our children and grand, grand children," Anstine Norbeck told Xinhua.

"We have to act now," she said.

"But I think this process needs some kind of mediation. They have to include some mediation codes in this process," the mediation expert added.

Reports say Canada's argument against the Kyoto Protocol is that it only covered about 15 percent to 20 percent of the world's emissions at most and that it wanted a treaty that was inclusive of everyone, including developing major economies such as India, Brazil, South Africa and China.

"This is not working. These people (negotiators) are not agreeing to agree to one thing.  Now its clear countries especially developing, Africa in most should go back to their countries and find ways how to deal with climate change," a senior Tanzanian environmental journalist told Xinhua.

"Many countries are saying the Kyoto Protocol must go. It's problematic because they (developed countries) want agreements that arrange for pledging regimes but we want binding agreements. We want the Kyoto Protocol to remain... that is what is good for climate justice good for the vulnerable," Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) head Sulaimon Agribabu said.

Agribabu said if no deal is agreed in the next 24 hours, that "will be very unfortunate" and will spell out doom to the international community and the multinational process.

He urged Africa to remain united.

"Africa should speak with one voice up to the end including South Africa which is much developed than others," says Agribabu of a Nigerian based environmental organization. He said Africa negotiators must take advantage of the continent's position to the economic development of many countries in the world, especial the developed.

"They must negotiate knowing that the world needs Africa. The world cannot do with out Africa," Agribabu told Xinhua.