Late-breaking news : Thursday 12 Nov
Updates brought to you by the ENB team members throughout the day:
Kazakhstans Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Dr. Serikbek ZH. Daukeev, has told the high level segment that his country intends to enter Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol and take on obligations to abate greenhouse gas emissions. He added: "We support an objective and reasonable target for the first budget period, which includes abatement measures for GHG emissions but which does not create barriers to economic development."
The United States Climate Action Network has responded to the US decision to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Spokesperson Jennifer Morgan of the WWF welcomed the decision as a "necessary step" but contrasted it with the more significant question of a strong programme of domestic action for the United States. She added: "In Buenos Aires the US has only stepped on to the dance floor and has yet to learn the dance steps for the tango to really begin."
ENB New York Office: A. Peter Burleigh, Charge dAffaires of the United States
Mission to the United Nations, signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change, at 3:00 pm, Thursday 12 November, at UN Headquarters. The United States is
the sixtieth nation to sign the Protocol. In a brief statement, Ambassador Burliegh cited
the signing of the Protocol as a reaffirmation of US commitment to working with other
nations to address the challenge of climate change. He also said that signing the Protocol
serves US environmental, economic and national goals. He noted participation of key
developing countries, carbon trading and the Clean Development Mechanism as issues that
still must be addressed.
than twenty-four hours of scheduled conference time remaining at COP-4, the sounds of
"table thumping" are emerging from ministerial sessions set up to make the
political decisions on some key outcomes. Ministers are reported to be using initial
meetings to re-state long held positions. COP-4 President, Maria Julia Alsogaray
(Argentina) has set up a high level structure for input from the ministers and is pressing
ministers to begin drafting agreed text. An extended bureau has been created to oversee
the progress of a core group and four working groups of ministers and country
representatives dealing with: Kyoto mechanisms (formerly known as the flexibility
mechanisms); non-Annex I communications; COP/MOP-1; UNFCCC Articles 4.3 (a) and (b);
and the combined issues of technology transfer, the Kyoto Mechanisms, Activities
Implemented Jointly, and UNFCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 on adverse impacts and compensation.
Reports from the working groups are going back to the core group with three
representatives of the G-77, one from the EU and one from the Umbrella Group.
Photos and RealAudio from the negotiations, 12 November
UNITED STATES TO SIGN KYOTO PROTOCOL
The United States has announced that it is to sign the Kyoto Protocol in New York. Speaking at the High Level session at COP-4 in Buenos Aires, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, received warm applause when he said that the US would honor its pledge in Kyoto in 1997. He added: "In taking this action the US reaffirms our commitment to work with the nations gathered here to address the challenge of climate change. We are guided by the firm belief that signing will serve our environmental, economic and national security goals. Kyoto is a landmark achievement but it is a work in progress and key issues remain outstanding, As an original signatory to the Protocol the US will be able to play a stronger and more effective role in resolving these issues."
RealAudio from the COP-4 High Level Segment:
At the opening of the high-level segment the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Michael Zammit Cutajar, informed the Conference of the Parties that ministers were getting down to business
Panangian Siregar, Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the G-77/China, challenged developed countries to honor their commitment to lead and sounded a warning about the imposition of conditionalities
Martin Bartenstein, Federal Minister for the Environment, Youth and Family Affairs, Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, outlined the issue areas where progress is necessary
Stuart Eizenstat, United States Undersecretary of State for Business, Commerce, Economic and Agricultural Affairs, announces the US decision to sign the Kyoto Protocol and outlines outstanding issues in the negotiations
Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner for Environment of the European Community, supports prioritization of the CDM, domestic action and compliance
Amb. Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Permanent Representative Mission of the Independent State of Samoa, speaking on behalf of the AOSIS group
UK Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, gives a characteristically frank assessment of the negotiations and tells negotiators that "sympathy is not good enough"
|US Senator Joseph Lieberman (on the left) being congratulated after the US announced that it would sign the Kyoto Protocol||US Senator Chuck Hagel, Nebraska, said in signing the Kyoto Protocol, the President blatantly contradicts the will of the US Senate|
|Amb. Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Permanent Representative Mission of the Independent State of Samoa||Stuart Eizenstat, US Undersecretary of State|
|Panangian Siregar, Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the G-77/China||Martin Bartenstein, Federal Minister for the Environment, Youth and Family Affairs, Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union and its member States|
|Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner for Environment of the European Community||Guido Di Tella, Foreign Minister, Argentina|
|Souty Toure, Minister of the Environment and of the Protection of Nature, Senegal||Jennifer Morgan, World Wide Fund for Nature, gave Chris Spence, ENB, an NGO perspective on the US signing of the Kyoto Protocol|
|Noel Dempsey, Minister for the Environment and Local Governments, Ireland||Conference participants watch the evening's US press conference on a closed circuit TV outside the press briefing room after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol by the U.S.|
REAL AUDIO from the afternoon COP-4 Plenary session
The following statements were made during the afternoon session of the High Level Segment
Liu Jiang, Minster and Vice-Chairman of the State Development and Planning Commission, China, contrasts the responsibilities of countries responsible for luxury versus survival emissions and opposes attempts to impose commitments on developing countries
Jï¿½rgen Trittin, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, performs his first duty as the new German Minister Responsible for the Environment with a renunciation of nuclear power as part of the solution to climate change and a call for action on aviation fuel
|Carlos Manuel Rodriguez-Echandi, Ministro a.i. de Ambiente y Energï¿½a, Costa Rica, spoke on behalf of the Central American countries and remembered those affected by the Hurrican Mitch||Serikbek Daukeev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Kazakhstan, said his country would undertake voluntary commitments and would enter into Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol through Annex 1 of the FCCC|
|Captain Edward Singhatey, Secretary of State for Presidential Affairs, Fisheries and Natural Resources, The Gambia||Simon Upton, Minister for the Environment and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand, (far right) talking to his delegation after his address to the Plenary|
|John Biehl, Ministeria Secretario General de la Presidencia, Chile||Jï¿½rgen Trittin, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany|
US delegation Press Briefing
The US, represented by Stuart E. Eizenstat (Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs) and Todd Stern (Assistant to the President for Special Projects) briefed the media on recent events and fielded questions.
|Top left: Rafe Pomerance, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and
Development, US Department of State in a huddle with US delegates
Bottom left: Todd Stern, Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary, US (far left), and US Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat running off to a meeting after the US announced they would sign the Kyoto Protocol
UK Press Briefing
Deputy Minister John Prescott was upbeat about prospects for achieving some worthwhile outcomes at COP4.
EU Commissioner and Council President Press Briefing
European Union Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard and President of the Council Martin Bartenstein discussed recent events, including the US announcement that it would sign the Protocol, and the state of negotiations at the conference.
RealAudio recordings from the briefing:
AOSIS heads of government and ministers Press Briefing
Urgent action must be taken at this conference to address climate change, according to representatives of the 35 member-strong Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
Panelists spoke forcefully about the problems AOSIS countries are experiencing due to climate change, and called for environmental issues to take precedence over political considerations.
AOSIS was represented by:
Left: Terry Coe, Minister in Charge of Climate Change, NIUE, Leo A. Falcam, Vice President, Federated States of Micronesia, Bikenibeu Paeniu, Prime Minister, Tuvalu, Ludwig Keke, Deputy Speaker, Nauru
|The Conference experienced an energy crisis during the afternoon speeches. The lights were restored after a few minutes of darkness and confusion|
ï¿½ Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 1998. All rights reserved.