Pressure Mounts on US, India, China to Seal COP17 Deal

Pressure Mounts on US, India, China to Seal COP17 Deal

The U.S., China and India are facing intense pressure to sign on to a new international deal that would see an ambitious agreement to reduce global emissions agreed by 2015 and legally enacted by 2020.

According to Reuters' reports, officials from island nations are currently seeking bilateral meetings with the Indian delegation to call on them to relax their stance and sign on to the E.U.'s proposed roadmap towards a new deal.

Meanwhile, the E.U.'s Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has issued her starkest warning to date that the U.S., China and India risk shouldering the blame for the collapse of the talks if an agreement is not reached.

"The success or failure of Durban hangs on a small number of countries who have not yet committed to the (E.U.) roadmap and the meaningful content it must have," she told reporters at a press conference this morning.

"If there is no further movement from what I have seen until four o'clock this morning, I don't think there will be a deal in Durban. That's what we are faced with."

She added that Brazil and South Africa had joined with the groups of least developed countries, African countries, and island states in supporting the E.U.'s plan for a legally binding treaty from 2020, leaving the U.S., China and India as the only significant barriers to a deal.

"We need to get them on board today – we don't have many hours left," she said. "The world is waiting for them."

The stand-off looks set to continue into the early hours.

Neither China, the U.S. or India want to be blamed for the failure of the talks, with the U.S. not wanting to see a repeat of the Bali Summit where it was left as the one opponent to a deal, and China and India reluctant to see a wedge driven between them and other developing countries.

However, the U.S. remains fiercely opposed to any deal that imposes a firm timetable towards a legally binding treaty, while China and India remain critical of attempts to impose binding emission reduction targets on them when their per capita emissions remain far below those of industrialized nations.

A number of NGOs and developing countries have signalled support for China and India's position, arguing that industrialized economies, including the E.U., should agree to deeper emission reduction targets.

Meanwhile, reports are suggesting the talks will again overrun, with the South African hosts contemplating an extension that would see the summit not close until Saturday evening or Sunday Morning.

Officials are still yet to release the latest draft negotiating text, suggesting it will be impossible to finalize a deal before the scheduled close of the summit. However, attempts to extend the talks could face difficulties given some senior ministers are believed to have flights booked for this evening and tomorrow morning.

Separately, the Guardian has reported that a deal on the formation of a Green Climate Fund is now extremely close to being finalized, with the one remaining issue being where it should be located temporarily before a long-term headquarters is selected. The choice is between the U.N. climate change secretariat's offices in Bonn, Germany, or U.N. offices in Geneva.

There were also reports in the past hour of around 150 protestors attempting to break into the conference hall.

This article originally appeared on BusinessGreen.

COP17 photo CC-licensed by UNFCCC.