Doha climate change talks deadlocked
Good news on the climate change front; fundamental differences exist between the haves and have nots over compensation paid out by nations like the US to poorer countries, as well as the structure of any new climate agreement.
Talks on a new climate deal ground on through Friday night in Qatar, as countries failed to agree on key issues including: rescuing the Kyoto protocol, finance and compensation for poor countries suffering the effects of climate change, and how to structure a proposed new global climate change agreement.
The negotiations, which have gone on for more than a fortnight, looked set to last for most of Saturday. But the marathon session left many delegates hopeful of rescuing a deal amid the frustration and confusion of the night.
"We have worked without a break and people realise we need to go home with something," said one delegate.
The EU is understood to have proposed a deadline of 3pm Saturday (12pm GMT) for adopting final amendments, but every deadline that has been set so far in the last days of talks has been breached.
Ed Davey, the UK energy and climate secretary, worked through the night, meeting with ministers from developed and developing countries in an attempt to secure a deal.
Rumours and counter-rumours were flying as ministers met in small groups and huddles of twos and threes to hammer out compromises. Some meetings were fractious, with delegates conscious of the need avoid a breakdown, which would be disastrous for the image of these talks with the eyes of the world upon the 195 governments meeting in Doha.
A deal to continue the Kyoto protocol beyond the end of this year, when its first set of targets expire, looked to be within grasp. In addition, an agreement to close down a parallel set of negotiations set up after the protocol came into force in 2005, at the behest of the US, which has always rejected Kyoto. Closing that strand would enable unified negotiations to begin work on a proposed new global climate change agreement, which would require emissions cuts from both developed and developing countries. It would be signed in 2015 to come into force from 2020.
The consensus on climate change - if it ever existed - has collpased and bodies like this have been reduced to nibbling around the edges hoping to keep the gravy train going for as long as possible.
But without China, India, and the US all signing off on an accord, any realistic chance for a meaningful treaty is gone. The attendees will no doubt paper over differences and with great fanfare, announce that progress has been made. But the truth is, skepticism and self interest will stand in the way of any climate change treaty for the foreseeable future.