Panama climate meeting’s glimmers of progress eclipsed by unresolved Kyoto question

October 7, 2011

Jennifer Andreassen, 202-572-3387,

(Panama City/ Washington – October 7, 2011) UN climate negotiators wrapped up in Panama today the last set of talks before their ministers meet in Durban, South Africa next month.

EDF’s International Climate Program Director Jennifer Haverkamp observed, “Some positive signals came out of Panama – less rancor and obstructionism than we had come to expect this year, and some progress on teeing up negotiating texts — but these glimmers of progress are eclipsed by the unresolved question of the Kyoto Protocol’s future.”

“Our preferred Durban outcome is agreement on a timetable and pathway to a new mandatory agreement. Sad to say, that’s looking like a heavy lift,” said Haverkamp. “But the prospect of a collapse of the existing legal framework will only strengthen the resolve of countries that actually want to tackle this problem to move forward in the avenues available to them.”

A case in point is the EU’s Aviation Directive, which marked a milestone yesterday when an interim legal opinion recommended upholding the directive’s requirement that all flights using European airports account for their greenhouse gas emissions. In rejecting U.S. airlines’ legal challenges, the European Court of Justice’s Advocate General found the directive consistent with international law and observed the “The EU institutions could not reasonably be required to give [the international aviation body] unlimited time in which to develop a multilateral solution.”

“Much still needs to be done in the next six weeks if Durban is to successfully advance progress toward a climate regime that preserves the planet for our grandchildren in a form we would still recognize,” Haverkamp said.

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