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Climate Talks Priority Is to Extend Kyoto Protocol, G77 Says

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June 8 (Bloomberg) -- The priority of United Nations climate talks this year should be to extend the world’s only treaty that caps greenhouse-gas emissions beyond 2012, the lead spokesman for 130 developing nations and China said.

Envoys from more than 190 countries need to agree on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol during talks that start Nov. 28 in Durban, South Africa, Argentina’s ambassador to the UN, Jorge Arguello, said today in an interview at the latest round of discussions in Bonn, Germany. Argentina holds the rotating presidency of the G77.

The stance by more than half the world’s countries puts them at odds with nations such as Japan, Russia and Canada, who have all said they won’t accept new binding targets under Kyoto unless all major economies are bound. That includes China, now the biggest emitter, and the U.S., which never ratified Kyoto.

“A second commitment period without those countries wouldn’t have the same capacity or the same strength in its results,” Arguello said. “The G77 and China clearly looks to Durban to move forward with a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. That’s the priority.”

Under Kyoto’s first enforcement period, 35 nations and the European Union committed to reduce emissions by a collective 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. Christiana Figueres, the UN official who stewards the treaty talks, said two days ago that a gap is likely between the first and second round of commitments because of the lag time needed to amend the Kyoto Protocol and ratify it in all member nations.

Arguello said a second round of commitments without Japan, Russia and Canada is “possible” and “depends on the level of solidarity those countries want to show to the rest of the planet.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in Bonn at amorales2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net