Huhne defends UK stance in Kyoto climate timetable

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has defended the UK’s stance on climate change after suggestions that along with other Kyoto Protocol nations it has given up on setting new emissions targets […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has defended the UK’s stance on climate change after suggestions that along with other Kyoto Protocol nations it has given up on setting new emissions targets until 2016.

Next week sees the start of global climate talks in Durban. Countries signed up to the existing Kyoto agreement, which expires in 2012, have been squabbling over new targets for over a year. It has been widely expected that the Durban talks will be a stepping stone for a decision that will come next year. But an article in the Guardian this week suggested that in private nations thought an agreement would actually come by 2016 at the earliest, meaning no action could be in place until 2020.

Mr Huhne challenged the claim as a “wholesale misrepresentation” of the UK’s position. He said in a letter to the paper: “The UK would like to see a global treaty signed straight away but the reality is that some of the biggest economies, both developed and developing, are not yet ready. We aim at Durban to reach agreement on the need for a new treaty and to set out a timetable for its negotiation, concluding no later than 2015.”