Wednesday, December 23, 2009

South Africa blasts Copenhagen failure

In their first media briefing since returning from talks in the Danish capital, environment minister Buyelwa Sonjica and her two top climate change negotiators said Tuesday that part of the blame rested with the way the host guided the conference.

South Africa says Copenhagen's failure to produce a legally binding climate change agreement was unacceptable, joining a global chorus of condemnation even though it helped draft the final accord.

South Africa's environment minister Buyelwa Sonjica and her two top climate change negotiators said Tuesday that part of the blame rested with the way the host guided the conference. In their first media briefing since returning from talks in the Danish capital that ended Saturday, the trio described an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion that Denmark was plotting to force its own position on other nations.

In the end, South African negotiator Joanne Yawitch said, the Danes unveiled a draft at the 11th hour that Yawitch said was "seriously problematic". She said negotiators edited late into the night and came up with a document South Africa found more balanced, but that she felt substantive changes were unwelcome.

Her fellow negotiator Alf Wills said the resulting agreement was limited not only in terms of what it did to save the planet, but in the number of nations that accepted it, saying it did not extend beyond the 28 represented at the late-night negotiations.

Sonjica said substantive talks were hijacked by debates over how to handle the process.

"Process is important, since it determines outcomes, but some ill-restrained interventions combined with poor decisions by those guiding the process meant that process problems caused the loss of three days — precious time indeed," Sonjica said.

Copenhagen's outcome was "not acceptable. It's definitely not acceptable. It's disappointing," Sonjica said.

South Africa along with the US, India, Brazil and China drafted the climate change agreement reached in Denmark. The compromise calls for reducing emissions to keep temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels. The nonbinding agreement also calls on rich nations to spend billions to help poor nations deal with drought and other impacts of climate change, and to develop clean energy.

Sonjica said South African President Jacob Zuma had discussed with other African leaders whether the talks should be abandoned, but it was decided it would be better to continue to try to influence the talks from inside.

"And maybe what we have now would have been worse" had there been a walk out, she said.

Associated Press

2 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

They showed footage of the environment minister Buyelwa Sonjica on TV last night here in Oz. OMG - how embarassing. She looked like a backward sub-human. Where do they get these things from? How do they expect you to take a country seriously when you have to deal with a maid?

Anonymous said...

The Indian Foreign Minister admitted yesterday in his parliament that SA, China, Brazil and India had conspired to bring the talks down. How does she explain that??