“Emission fight, Europe in corner”, headlines Il Sole 24 Ore on the opening day of the Durban Climate Change Conference (COP17). The goal of the meeting is to sign off on a deal to limit global average temperature rise to less 2°C. But emerging economies such as Brazil and India have joined rich nations in not wishing to start talks on such a deal before 2015, angering small island states and other countries immediately threatened by climate change. According to the Italian business daily, the UN summit “does not seem to have a chance of producing a binding international treaty. Those who have rowed against it, like the US, will be pleased. But for Europe, this is a triple somersault.”:
Firstly, because of the Kyoto protocol and its dictates, the EU has built an emissions market involving banks and enterprises in long term investments estimated at €107billion.
Secondly, because the South African summit could end in more than a stalemate: it could sanction the death of Kyoto, seeing that Canada, Japan and Russia have already said they will not join its second phase in 2013.
Thirdly, because the brave European commitment to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 could sideline it in a fight which is meaningful only if shared by all the planet. But which also requires billions in public spending which do not go well with the regime of fiscal discipline [practised in] these modern times.