Bangkok climate change talks begin

April 1st, 2008 - 8:13 pm ICT by admin  

Bangkok, April 1 (DPA) UN-sponsored climate change talks have got off to a good start here, the world body’s top climate change official said Tuesday. “I am very encouraged by the way things are going,” said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is hosting a five-day meeting on climate change in Bangkok, which has drawn 1,180 delegates from 163 countries.

The five-day gathering, coming three months after a landmark agreement reached in Bali to set a road map for strengthening international action on climate change, is tasked with setting the work programme for negotiations to be concluded by the end of next year on concrete plans to halt increases in global carbon emissions by 2015 and dramatically cut them by 2050.

Observers have warned that after the enthusiasm generated by the Bali breakthrough, there have been signs of backsliding by certain countries, such as Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand in their presentations in Bangkok.

“I think its quite normal for a wedding vow to lead to a degree of nervousness on the part of both the bride and the groom,” said de Boer, comparing the moods of the Bali and Bangkok talks.

At the core of the talks in Bangkok, are fears among developed countries that their commitments to cut their own carbon emissions will not be matched by similar commitments by the developing world to introduce new technologies that will lead to fewer emissions in the future but will have higher production costs.

That is a fear also expressed by European industries.

The challenge is to design a future agreement that would halt the increase in global emissions within the next 10 to 15 years and dramatically cut back emissions by 2050.

Failure to do so will see the average world temperature increase over 2 degrees, leading to adverse effects such as food and water shortages, rising seas levels and an increase in extreme weather events, according to UN estimates.

Industrialized countries will need to reduce their emissions by between 25 to 40 percent by 2020, to turn the tide, says the UN.

But even as the climate talks go on, there are already signs that some developed countries are failing to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 but in effect between 2008 to 2012.

“There is at least one country where emissions are way off track and the Canadian government has concluded that it is not going to meet is Kyoto commitments,” acknowledged de Boer.

He added a number of countries are going to have to make a huge effort, both through domestic emission reduction targets and through international cooperation by buying reductions on the market, in order to meet their Kyoto commitments.

The US is one of the few countries that have refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

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