Canada Doesn't See Breakthrough at Post-Kyoto Meet
OTTAWA A major Montreal meeting charged with starting to draft a successor to the Kyoto climate change accord is unlikely to produce a breakthrough, a senior Canadian official said Monday.
The conference, which runs from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, will try to find common ground between those countries that signed on to Kyoto and those that did not, including the United States, China, India and Australia.
"We don't expect outcomes on this at Montreal because this is the first discussion of the post-Kyoto regime," the official told a briefing.
"But what we want to do is build bridges between developing countries and industrial countries -- including the industrial countries that are not members of Kyoto -- as to the kind of regime which might exist in the future."
Kyoto, designed to curb emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, formally expires in 2012 and the task of forging a new treaty will be immense. Many of the 152 signatories have had trouble meeting their targets.
The United States, the world's biggest polluter, walked away from Kyoto in 2001, saying it would harm economic growth. It also complained the accord does not cover developing countries such as China and India.
"We want this to be something which is remembered as the start of serious negotiations with the countries that are not part of Kyoto," said the Canadian official.
"I don't think we're going to have another Kyoto in which not all industrial countries and no developing countries establish targets for themselves ... If you were to negotiate Kyoto today you would want China in it."
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin will be at the United Nations this week, the official said, where he will raise the subject of the Montreal conference with leaders such as Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, who also walked away from Kyoto.
The official said Martin's message to Howard would be: "It's very important that you take these discussions seriously ... it's up to you to come up with something in Montreal as to how to bridge the gap".
Australia agreed in July to work with the United States, China, India, Japan and South Korea to curb global warming but the six countries did not set targets for emissions cuts.
Another challenge at Montreal will be dealing with developing countries, which are likely to demand help to meet emissions targets, the official said.
"The Indian (approach) ... is 'You give us the technology with no royalties to pay and we'll start doing something'... It'll be a very complicated process," he said.