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The problem at this year’s conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is that developing countries – led by the BASIC group – want rich nations to commit to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the existing Kyoto Protocol after 2012, while developed countries are making this conditional on emerging economies making legally binding commitments to reduce their emissions. “They are talking of this convergence. I cannot yet see light at the end of this tunnel,” Ms Natarajan said. “The link is very much there. That’s what is worrying us.”

The paragraph above is an excerpt from this website: https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/4678-Climate-summit-Durban-stalemate-continues

What remains unintelligible to me, though I did refer to the dictionary, is the actual meanings of the word "convergence" and of the sentence "The link is very much there".

How should the sentence "They are talking of this convergence" be interpreted? Could someone explain why Ms Natarajan cannot see the hope for the future?

My next question is how the sentence "The link is very much there" should be interpreted? What does "link" refer to? Does it mean connection or relationship? What is it linking? Is it referring to the ties between the developed countries and the developing countries? Besides, the phrase "very much there" is also unintelligible to me. Does it mean "just there","actually there" or "to be considerably important existence"? How on the whole should the sentence be paraphrased?

Could someone please tell me how to understand these two sentences?

  • This question is actually too long, for this site. Can you think of a way of asking it more succinctly? What does it boil down to? – WS2 Feb 24 '16 at 10:52
  • Sure. Thank you for reminding me. Can I just delete my post and set another post to ask directly what I want to know? Does it seem rude or abrupt to ask a question directly? @WS2 – Jarl Feb 24 '16 at 11:05
  • The question is not too long for this site. – TRomano Feb 24 '16 at 11:21
  • It was indeed too long before I deleted a couple of sentences in my question several minutes ago. @TimRomano :) – Jarl Feb 24 '16 at 11:36
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The verb to converge means:

(Of a number of things) gradually change so as to become similar or develop something in common: 'the aims of the two developments can and should converge'.

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

Rich nations and poor nations (emerging economies) have different interest and benefit in pursuing the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG). Either party can't sacrifice only itself without the other's commitment as it will be detrimental to its economy. There will be great damage to the economy of those developing countries if they commit to reduction of GHG requested by rich nations because it will lead to slow growth rate. Therefore, it is not easy for their interests to converge at any point.

“The link is very much there." means the link (the condition to be met so that one party would pursue GHG reduction) is very obvious for anyone to see and the link for the convergence will not be changed to satisfy either party's needs.

  • Understood. Thank you for your revision of my question and conscientious explanations. It's been a great help. :) @Rathony – Jarl Feb 24 '16 at 11:56
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When things converge they come together. It is not the best word to express the tit-for-tat relationship described in the passage, which involves a conditionality. The developed nations will agree to reduce only if the nations with emerging economies agree to reduce. That is the nature of the link.

Very much there in this context means "of central importance to the negotiating positions of the developed nations".

  • Thx. Can I just paraphrase the sentence as "The link is greatly favourable to the developed nations"? @TimRomano – Jarl Feb 24 '16 at 11:45
  • The original does not make that value judgement. "There" does not mean "favors". But in the sentence about "worry", the implication is that Natarajan sees a problem for the emerging economies if they are required to reduce their emissions. – TRomano Feb 24 '16 at 13:01

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