UN's Bangkok climate talks close without emission and funding commitments

October 10, 2009 7:05 pm 

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BANGKOK, Oct. 10 – Two weeks of negotiating ‘readiness’ for the December United Nations World Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen ended Friday in the Thai capital with progress made on the “bricks and mortar” essentials of the Copenhagen agreed outcome but falling short of hoped-for clarity regarding what can be delivered actually for a workable international climate change deal.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer noted while the Bangkok meeting achieved a “willingness” to form a structure to quickly implement climate action, it did not succeed in overcoming differences and decisions on finance and targets.

No substantive progress was achieved on emission cuts for wealthy nations or on providing funding for poor countries which are essential elements of a global warming pact.

Deadlocked negotiations suggest elements of a climate pact to control greenhouse gas emissions cannot be achieved before world leaders gather in Copenhagen in December to recommend a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

De Boer said the people worldwide have a right to know exactly what their governments will do to prevent dangerous climate change.

“It is time now to step back from self interest and to let common interest prevail,” he said.

Progress was made on adaptation, technology transfer, capacity-building and negotiators agreed on technical issues like forest and land use, measuring global warming potentials of new greenhouse gases and options to strengthen the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism.

Little progress was made regarding mid-term emission reduction targets for industrialized countries, however, and there is no clarity about necessary funding for developing countries which must further limit respective emissions growth and adapt to inevitable effects of climate change.

The wealthy, mainly western, industrial countries can boost their target for agreement in Copenhagen by following Norway’s example of cutting emissions by 40 percent, the UN climate chief continued.

Negotiators will meet for five more days in Barcelona next month and have three weeks for “guidance from their political leaders” to end their work before the December meeting in Copenhagen, he noted said.

“Bold leadership” must pass the roadblocks and achieve essential targets and finances to complete the process, he continued.

Heads of State and governments meeting in New York in September identified five core issues for a comprehensive, fair and effective Copenhagen agreement.

Any Copenhagen climate change deal must ensure enhanced action “to assist the most vulnerable and the poorest to adapt to the impacts of climate change,” he suggested.

In New York, world leaders saw that without clear emission reduction targets and action by the industrialized countries, nationally appropriate mitigation action by developing countries can't be achieved.

The leaders agreed climate change outcomes need to generate financial and technological resources with mechanism to produce funds automatically over time.

Accordingly, the world leaders said, a viable Copenhagen agreement must create an equitable governance structure to manage funds for adaptation and mitigation so actual needs of developing countries can be addressed.

With 192 countries and other parties, UNFCC has almost universal membership.

This is more than the 1997 Kyoto Protocol's 184-strong members.

Under the protocol, industrialized countries and those transitioning to a market economy have legally binding emission limits and reduction commitments.

This aims to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions to a level that'll prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. (PNA/TNA/UNFCCC)

CJT/rsm

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