Copenhagen Summit

"Make Climate Deal Without the US"

The countries that have signed the Kyoto Agreement should go further with a binding agreement without the US, according to the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. The proposal comes after a week when expectations of what can be achieved at the big climate summit in Copenhagen in December has been turned down significantly.

But Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren thinks it is a bad idea. "I think this is the last alternative to consider. We want it all to lead to an agreement where the US accepts internationally and legally binding commitments regarding serious emission cuts," Carlgren told Swedish Radio News.

Carlgren still insists there will be a binding agreement in Copenhagen. but on Friday, Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt instead spoke about a "bouquet of commitments", based on the various countries' national programmes.

One reason for the slow progress in the negotiations is that the US will not manage to agree on any concrete proposals for cuts in carbon emissions. To save the situation the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) suggests an agreement between the countries that signed the last climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol. The US never did ratify that protocol.

"If the US has problems internally, you could imagine to move on with this Kyoto-family and that they go on with an agreement, and then a softer separate agreement with the US," Svante Axelsson, general secretary of the SSNC, told Swedish Radio News.

He says it is not ideal, but that it is better than standing without an agreement in 2012 which is when Kyoto- Agreement expires. But Sweden's Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren does not think it is a good idea.

"I am very concerned that it would take us back into the whole trauma we experienced with the Kyoto Agreement, where the world lost ten years of climate progress," he told Swedish Radio News.

Carlgren admits that a lot of the situation now reminds of the time ahead of Kyoto. "But that is exactly why I want us to not bring it to the same defeat that we did back then," Carlgren says.

But an agreement in Copenhagen that is NOT legally binding sends out completely the wrong signals, says Svante Axelsson at the SSNC.

"I get the feeling that we have got a soap in our hand that is about to slip out of our hands," Axelsson told Swedish Radio. "There are more and more politicians that are trying to lower the expectations and now they are talking about a decision that is about the process and not about lowering emissions."

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