"So, in order for there to be a legally binding agreement that makes sense, all the major players are going to have to be in with obligations, with commitments that have the same legal force. It doesn't mean they have to be exactly the same thing, but they have to apply with the same legal effect to all parties. And that means there's no conditionality, they're not conditional on receiving technology or financing, there's no trap doors, there's no Swiss cheese in that kind of an agreement. So that's imperative, and there are many parties who talk about a legally binding agreement, which would be kind of consistent with the structure that they see in the Bali Roadmap under which developed countries have legally, mandatory obligations, and developing countries have what are called in the somewhat arcane lexicon of this business, NAMAs -- Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions -- which are understood to be voluntary actions. So a legally binding agreement that is premised on that kind of division would not make any sense.
"China has not been willing to do the kind of legally binding agreement that I'm talking about. It would also incidentally -- any future legally binding agreement -- could not be premised on a 1992 division of countries. It just doesn't make any sense. The world has changed dramatically since 1992, so to the extent that there is any division of countries in an agreement going forward, it would have to evolve dynamically to reflect the changes in economic and emissions growth over the years."
On December 6, Stern held another briefing. In response to a question regarding the future of the Kyoto Protocol he said, ". . .it is very kind of normal in this climate change world from the perspective of press, observers, and sort of everybody who is involved to think about the legal-bindingness as the kind of sole indicator of what is important or significant. And we don't agree with that.
"It is an element and, in the right circumstances, it might be a good element. But it is certainly not the only element. And you know, as I have said on many occasions, when you look at Cancun, you look at Kyoto right now, let's assume, as I said that Kyoto goes forward in some fashion in Durban, it is likely to cover somewhere in the vicinity of 15 percent of global emissions.
"Cancun includes submissions, either targets or actions from developed and developing countries. I have lost track of the exact number of countries, but it is upwards of 80 or more countries, who made submissions and more than 80 percent of global emissions being covered. And these weren't kind of casual, you know, we'll think about doing X, Y or Z. These were, it was first of all made under the, in the context of a decision of the COP last year. Made under a legally binding treatythe Framework Conventionand they are serious submissions that I think all the countries who made them intend to carry them out. . ."
Access the complete December 5 transcript of the press briefing and the Q&A's (click here). Access the complete December 6 transcript of the press briefing and the Q&A's (click here). Access a complete index of day-by-day briefing session webcasts on-demand including Todd Stern's December 5 & 6 briefing (click here). Access the U.S. State Department COP17 website for details on the U.S. activities (click here). Access links to complete information from the UNFCCC website (click here). Access the CO.NX digital diplomacy team website with the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) at the U.S. Department of State for a back-stage pass to COP17 (click here). [#Climate]
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