Troubled UN climate talks stall on final day

Updated 07 December 2012
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Troubled UN climate talks stall on final day

DOHA: UN climate negotiators yesterday locked horns on the final day of talks in Doha to halt the march of global warming, deeply divided on funding for poor countries and extending the greenhouse gas-curbing Kyoto Protocol.
Delegates knuckled down for a late night of final haggling to find consensus on an interim plan to rein in climate change and smooth the way to a new deal that must enter into force in 2020.
Funding to help poor countries deal with the fallout from global warming and convert to planet-friendlier energy sources remained a key sticking point between negotiators from nearly 200 countries gathered in the Qatari capital.
“We cannot close the (negotiations) without... finance,” Gambian negotiator Pa Ousman Jarju told a late-afternoon press conference.
Developed countries are being pressed to show how they intend to keep a promise to raise climate funding for poorer nations to $ 100 billion (76 billion euros) per year by 2020 — up from a total of $ 30 billion in 2010-2012.
Also in dispute is “hot air,” the name given to Earth-warming greenhouse gas emission quotas that countries were given under the first leg of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and did not use — some 13 billion tones in total.
The credits can be sold to nations battling to meet their own quotas, meaning greenhouse gas levels decrease on paper but not in the atmosphere.
Poland and Russia emitted much less than their lenient limits, and insisted in Doha on being allowed to bank the difference beyond 2012 — a move most other parties vehemently oppose.
Agreement on hot air is key to the Doha delegates extending the life of the Kyoto pact, whose first leg expires on Dec. 31.
The protocol is the world’s only binding pact on curbing greenhouse gases, but it locks in only developed nations and excludes major developing polluters such as China and India, as well as the United States, which refused to ratify it.
A new 2020 deal, due to be finalized by 2015, will include commitments for all the nations of the world.


Russia ‘skeptical’ over UN Syrian crimes against humanity report

Updated 21 June 2018
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Russia ‘skeptical’ over UN Syrian crimes against humanity report

MOSCOW: Russia’s foreign minister on Thursday said he was “skeptical” about a UN report accusing the Syrian regime of committing crimes against humanity during the siege of Eastern Ghouta.
The report published Wednesday said forces loyal to the government had deliberately starved civilians during the siege between February and April, among other crimes.
“We are in principle very skeptical toward the methods of this sort of work, whether it comes to war crimes or the use of chemical weapons,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
When questioned by journalists, Lavrov confirmed he had not seen the report.
He said it was “based on data obtained through social networks, video that was filmed by witnesses,” rather than being put together on the ground.
The five-year siege, on the outskirts of the capital, ended in April when Damascus regained control of the rebel enclave.
As pro-government forces dramatically escalated their campaign to recapture the besieged enclave, they used tactics that were “largely unlawful in nature,” the UN-commissioned report said.
The tactics, it said, “aimed at punishing the inhabitants of eastern Ghouta and forcing the population, collectively, to surrender or starve.”
Russia has been involved in Syria’s civil war since September 2015. Its military support of the regime changed the course of the war, allowing government troops to retake more than half the country from rebels and the Daesh group.
More than 350,000 people have been killed in Syria’s war since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.