More than 190 countries, more vulnerable to global warming to less eager to act, meet for two weeks in Durban (South Africa), in an attempt to give a course in negotiations on climate change and future protocol Kyoto emblem on borrowed time.
This treaty emblematic of the commitment of industrialized countries crystallizes expectations, a few months of the 20th anniversary of the Rio Summit in 1992 which began the process established under the UN climate.
One year after the World Cup soccer held in South Africa, a challenge of a different order from waiting Monday in Durban, on the shores of the Indian Ocean and on the African continent primarily concerned with the problem, the more than 12,000 diplomats, ministers, delegates, experts and NGOs expected until December 9: how to effectively limited to less than 2 ° C increase in global thermostat?
"Climate change is an important issue for us, it's happening, it's not something in the future," he recently recalled the president of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, passing through Paris.
In recent weeks, many studies have confirmed the urgency: new records of CO2 emissions, ever increasing gap between the promises of the country and what the science demands, increase predictability of floods and heat waves of next few decades.
"We left for at least 3 ° C increase, except to change course in a very proactive," says the French climatologist Jean Jouzel.
Given the acceleration of CO2 emissions, the UN process of negotiations still seems slower. Looking for a new life since the failure of the Copenhagen summit in late 2009 in spite of technical advances achieved last year in Cancun (Mexico).
Many voices, like that of the organization of environmental groups WWF, do not hide their concern about "the possibility of a breakdown in negotiations in Durban", mainly because of uncertainties about the future of the Kyoto Protocol.
This treaty is the only legal framework imposing targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in forty countries. Even if, without the United States, which have not ratified, nor the major emerging countries like China and India, it covers less than 30% of global emissions.
The first commitment period ends late 2012 and the developing countries require new commitments from industrialized countries on behalf of their "historic responsibility".
That some of them refuse such as Japan, Russia and Canada.
A possible extension of Kyoto is therefore based primarily on a new commitment of the European Union, which represents 11% of global emissions.
Europe, however, that decision binds to the editor, in Durban, a "road map" laid the foundations for a future global framework in which all countries have binding commitments. A framework that, in the minds of Europeans, would be validated in 2015 to take effect by 2020.
The question is whether China, which acts to make its economy more "green", India, and especially the United States, paralyzed by their domestic political situation, willing to take a step towards such a "road map".
The United States have recently refused to endorse the work of the committee to build the "Green Fund", a mechanism that will provide future financial aid to developing countries.
This veto is some fear that Americans refuse to real advances in Durban, although they said this week they supported "vigorously" the establishment of the "Green Fund".
"The U.S. delegates will probably have a better chance of being applauded in Washington if they return to Durban, saying that the process is dying," summed up, anxious, a European negotiator.AFP