The European Union and the G-77 developing countries decided Friday to oppose including nuclear in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, leading negotiators from both groups told Platts. That puts them in direct opposition to the "umbrella group"--including Japan, Canada, Australia and Russia--that wants nuclear power eligible for tradable credits for its emission-free generation. The US also supported nuclear before dropping out of Kyoto. The EU position was grudgingly accepted by France and the UK.
The EU governments--represented by environment or energy ministers, not government leaders--insist they won't compromise. Marc Pallemaerts, a senior Belgian energy official, told journalists the EU's opposition to nuclear and unlimited carbon sinks "will now be put to the test" in negotiations expected to end by Sunday night. Negotiators have given themselves until then to reach a general agreement on Kyoto implementation broad enough to justify technical experts' continuing talking. Said one Dutch participant, "Either we save the Kyoto Protocol by then or we can cut this off at that point and go home."
Though the ministers say agreement won't be delayed by the need to consult with national leaders, many of them in Genoa for the G-8 summit, one EU official said by Sunday, those leaders may be called on to exert political pressure to get a compromise. Most participants, however, remained skeptical today that the EU would succeed in forging agreement between the "umbrella group" and the G-77 by Sunday.