Long hard way to global climate deal: UN

June 8th, 2009 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

By Joydeep Gupta
Bonn, June 8 (IANS) The world needs clarity on the extent industrialised countries are going to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) that are changing the climate and what “nationally appropriate mitigation action” large developing countries like India will take, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said here Monday.

Speaking at the mid-point of a June 1-12 conference to prepare for this December’s summit in Copenhagen where a climate agreement is scheduled to be inked, de Boer said negotiators from 182 countries gathered here should also provide clarity on “how to generate support for mitigation and adaptation (to climate change) in developing countries” through financing from industrialised countries.

Further, he sought clarity on “governance structures to manage the (financial) support generated”.

At issue are differences between industrialised and developing countries on who should reduce by how much and by when the GHG emissions that are leading to climate change, which in turn is already affecting farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and more damaging and raising the sea level. India is among the countries worst affected.

Developing countries have been pointing out that almost all the extra GHG in the atmosphere today - mostly carbon dioxide - has been put there by industrialised countries in the past 200-odd years, so it is their “historical responsibility” to reduce their GHG emissions. Member of the Indian delegation Prodipto Ghosh said the West “should reduce their emissions 79.2 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels”, a far higher figure than any on the table before.

Industrialised countries, on the other hand, have pointed out that now China is the world’s largest GHG emitter, and India is fourth, so all actions taken by the West will come to nought unless large developing countries move along.

Though de Boer was happy that in the last week of negotiations no country had restated these positions that have frozen agreement in climate talks for so long, NGOs shadowing the meeting were worried that “no real decision had been taken” either, as Wael Hmaidan of the Arab Climate Alliance put it.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary de Boer also pointed out that prominent industrialised countries like Japan and Russia had not yet committed on the extent of their GHG emission cuts beyond 2012 - when the current commitment period, under the Kyoto Protocol (KP), runs out.

“There are key numbers missing,” de Boer said, “calling into question other (negotiating) processes. We need to get the KP talks moving.”

He also said there had been little progress in getting more money into any of the funds meant to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

As the tortuous negotiation process continued in the second week, a senior member of the India delegation told IANS: “The best we can hope for from this Bonn meeting is a new draft of the treaty for Copenhagen, and then the negotiations will have to begin again.”

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