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NEWS: The push for a new binding agreement in Cancun

The Hindu reports that, “As the climate change conference here (in Cancun) winds down, India is coming under immense pressure to accept (an apparently new) ‘legally binding agreement’ on climate change…”

But, “with the conference closing tomorrow, India has objected to raising the issue so late in the day.”

“Pushing hardest for a legally binding treaties (notice plural) are small island nations, which are the most vulnerable to climate change. Countries in India’s vicinity – Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal – are also supporting a legally binding agreement. India’s close allies on the climate change issue – Brazil and South Africa – are also in favour of a legally binding agreement…”

KYOTO PROTOCOL
“Bolivia is concerned that this new pursuit (of a binding agreement for all countries) will take attention away from the Kyoto Protocol, which puts the legal responsibility to cut emissions squarely on the shoulders of developed countries.”

“(India) has also said that currently it is important to concentrate on the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only legally binding treaty on climate change, but its future is uncertain since several countries (likely meaning Canada, Japan, Russia and Australia) want to abandon it.”

The Harper government has said consistently in Cancun that it supports a single, legally-binding climate agreement that applies to all countries.

WHAT COULD BE CONSIDERED BINDING?
“India argues that consensual decisions taken under annual climate conferences can be considered binding. Indian diplomats here also argue that New Delhi’s promise to the parliament for cutting down carbon intensity can be considered binding since it’s a ‘serious’ nation.”

SUBSTANCE VS FORM
“India has also consistently argued that the substance of any outcome needs to be detailed before the form is decided – a position which is supported by Philippines and Egypt. …India (will) not agree to any legally binding agreement until three things are clear – the content of legally binding, the penalty of non-compliance and the system of monitoring.”

The full article is at http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article941326.ece.