Post-Kyoto UN deal out of reach - Miliband
A global post-Kyoto agreement is still out of reach as the UN summit on climate change concludes its final day of talks in Nairobi, David Miliband admitted today.
Speaking exclusive to Guardian Unlimited on the closing day of a fortnight of talks, the environment secretary said the summit had failed to gain sufficient momentum to agree a deal on greenhouse gas emissions because of a glaring "gap" between science and politics.
Mr Miliband lauded the significant progress made over adaptation funding for developing countries, and what he called a vigorous commitment to a works programme. But he said some "very difficult discussions" were still under way over the strength of international commitment to a deal.
"Where the final drive of negotiations needs to take place over the next few hours concerns the ability to inject a new momentum in the long-term discussions of a global emissions deal," he said.
Mr Miliband held out little hope that a firm international commitment would be ratified on the final day of talks. "That is where we have a real crunch point on some of the issues we have been discussing," he said.
Mr Miliband refused to name recalcitrant countries, but he hinted that industrialised and developing countries alike were hesitant. The latter group feared they would be expected to make the same level of contributions as their wealthier neighbours, he said.
"There are some richer countries who are concerned that that no country can have a free pass on this, and although not all countries will take on hard targets, every country needs to play some role.
"That is the essential balance. The need [is] for a global deal in which every country plays a part, but the fact is that richer countries are going to be able to contribute more.
" I am confident we can offer two cheers for this process. But the third cheer is going to rely on a real drive over the next year because 2007 is going to be a critical year for putting urgency and momentum into the drive for a global emissions deal."
The environment secretary added: "One of the reflections we will have is about the size of the gap between science and politics."
It was a "real issue" that only the UK and Germany had set binding, long-term targets for reducing carbon emissions.
Mr Miliband said the forthcoming G8 talks in Germany would provide an opportunity to revisit the need for "urgency and drive" in moving towards a new climate change agreement to operate after the current Kyoto commitments end in 2012.
The environment secretary declined to say whether a specific adaptation funding deal had been struck to help African countries cope with climate change, but he said general overseas aid should also be "carbon-proofed".
"We have to make sure there is an adaptation fund, but we also have to make sure that aid policies are generally sustainable", he said.
Mr Miliband, who is due to close the Commons debate on the Queen's speech this Monday, said he would tell government colleagues they all had a "part to play" in delivering the climate change agenda.
"From the prime minister to the chancellor and the foreign secretary, and me as environment secretary, every member of the cabinet has a role to play."
Earlier this week, Mr Miliband scotched rumours of a rift with the chancellor, Gordon Brown, over planned environmental policies targeted at business.