Asia Scope

Deadlock in Bangkok

The climate change talks going on in Bangkok close tomorrow. But so far there’s little sign of a breakthrough in negotiations ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference being held in Copenhagen in December, where a successor to the Kyoto Protocol is supposed to be agreed.

Unsurprisingly, the negotiations have been marked by spats between developing and developed nations, with China, India and other G77 nations lamenting the ‘murder’ of the Kyoto Protocol by a  ‘handful of countries’.

Critics of the US have periodically accused it of trying to sabotage the negotiations. These kinds of accusations are what’s come to be expected, especially on an issue where it’s fair to say the US isn’t exactly an enthusiastic global leader. But it hasn’t helped itself if this report in The Times of India is true:

“The industrialised countries have still not made a single offer of financial compensation to poor and developing countries for their mitigation actions.

“[And] at Bangkok negotiations, the US turned around instead to demand that India and other developing countries put their entire set of emissions reducing actions under international scrutiny.”

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The US must have known this was going to raise the hackles of developing countries, especially when it hasn’t been forthcoming with the pledges of financial assistance developing countries are seeking from it to help them implement emissions cuts.

That said, as our China correspondent noted to me recently, China also needs to make up its mind whether it wants to be seen as a developing country or not — it seems to change its professed status to suit.

At the end of the day developing countries are going to have to accept that it’s all very well pointing out that they aren’t responsible for much of the mess we’re in, but that trotting out this mantra isn’t going to bring about progress in finding solutions to a problem many will be bearing the brunt of. And developed countries, especially the US, need to realize that there are some real win-win opportunities for them in the long-term through investing in developing country eco-efforts, an attitude Japan could actually teach a few countries a thing or two about..