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As talks remained stalemated for a second straight day in Copenhagen, the climate change conference appeared to have hit a dead end, with little hope of the emergence of the comprehensive and equitable agreement that it was mandated to deliver.
The ministerial meetings convened Monday after African nations protested the lack of progress in finalizing emission reduction targets for rich countries failed to achieve a breakthrough despite repeated discussions.
In a clear indication that differences were not going to be resolved, the working group that is finalizing the long-term response to climate change — Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action, or AWG-LCA — circulated an amended draft text Tuesday after simply removing all contentious paragraphs, including the ones objected to by India, from its previous version. It said these were "to be elaborated", but did not specify when.
Despite the African protest, backed by India, China and other developing countries, there was no forward movement on fixing emission reduction targets for rich countries — the responsibility of the other working group, called the AWG on Kyoto Protocol — for the period beyond 2012 when the first commitment period for Kyoto comes to an end.
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who attended the ministerial meetings, did not sound hopeful about the outcome of the conference. "I think we would need to get a mandate for continuing negotiations in 2010 to bring about an agreed outcome," he said.
A Group of 77 negotiator said there was a renewed effort by the rich countries to push through a proposal to enlist their reduction commitments in a separate paper outside of the Kyoto Protocol in the interim, alongside the voluntary "actions" that the developing countries had announced.
"Kyoto Protocol will unfortunately remain buried forever at the Bella Centre in Copenhagen," he said.