As Kyoto expires, dilemma emerges: Korean envoy

By Mustaqim Adamrah

Thu, 04/07/2011 10:17 AM | World

The world will face a climate change dilemma when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, a senior South Korean diplomat says.

During a recent visit to Jakarta, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s special envoy, Han Seung-soo, said developed countries would likely refuse to renew their commitment to reduce emissions or develop and instrument to replace the Kyoto Protocol “unless something else happens”, thus creating a “dilemma”.

He said that the international community lost its best chance to find a replacement for the protocol at the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen in December 2009. “Even then it was too late.”

“Our position is to try to find a middle ground… If we find the middle ground and it is done by developed and developing countries then that will be a great contribution to solving the problems of climate change,” he said.

Han said developed countries needed to contribute more than developing countries to reduce emissions and fight climate change.

“The principle of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the principle of common — but differentiated — responsibilities,” Han said, adding that the current levels of carbon dioxide were produced by developed countries during the Industrial Revolution.

Over the past 10,000 years, he said, the average global temperature had increased by 1 degree Celsius, 70 percent of which could be attributed to industrialization.

Han discussed several issues, including climate change, with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his visit to Jakarta.

Yudhoyono and his South Korean counterpart had exchanged views on many occasions, including during Yudhoyono’s visit to Seoul for the G20 Summit in 2010 and Lee’s visit to Bali for the Bali Democracy Forum, also in 2010, he said.

While Indonesia has pledged to cut emissions by 26 percent by 2020, South Korea would reduce emissions by 30 percent below the 2020 Business As Usual (BAU) levels, Han said.

“It’s not only reducing emissions. What we are doing to deal with climate change is that we are changing the past paradigm of growth — quantity-oriented, high carbon energy — to low carbon and quality green growth,” he said.


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