UN climate change talks during the past week have seen signs that the world can deliver the “tools and rules” that will be essential in making any agreement reached at December’s Copenhagen summit successful, an official said yesterday.
“Progress is being made towards an effective draft in the key areas of global agreements on adaptation, technology and building capacity for action in developing countries,” Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told a press conference at the midway point of a two-week meeting in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, at last week’s UN General Assembly in New York, leaders from around the world backed agreements covering key political essentials necessary for success.
The Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the General Assembly in New York chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon heard clear calls from leaders for results.
Leaders agreed on the need to mobilise significant financial support for both adaptation and mitigation of climate change and the further task of finance ministers to agree on ideas about mobilising and managing the costs involved.
The UN and Bangkok meetings have shown the willingness of world leaders to re-engage personally on the road to December’s meeting in Copenhagen and getting political results there.
De Boer said he was encouraged by the commitments made at the UN and in Pittsburgh but added the world could not move fast enough to beat dangerous climate change and that this was why progress on financing was so important.
“You can’t cut a cake without a knife, and you won’t be able to cut a global deal without the right tools,” he said.
De Boer said he was happy to see negotiators were finally really getting into the text of a new agreement, beginning to slim the text down and identifying key options about the way forward.
However, the progress of the industrialised world’s emission cuts remained disappointing.
“We are not seeing real advances,” he said. “Movement toward managing and deploying financial support from the developed world on climate action remains slow.”
De Boer said talks next week would focus on concrete financial mechanisms and market solutions for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.
“What needs to happen next week is that negotiators really must focus even harder on what must be in the Copenhagen text – what to cut out or what can be left until later, when the details of a Copenhagen agreement are being worked out,” he added.
“A critical responsibility of the negotiators is really to ensure that the Copenhagen outcome actually is durable.”
The meeting so far has seen what de Boer called useful progress being made already on adaptation, technology and capacity building. These are important because Copenhagen “should be believable” and must be achievable in the sense that it can be implemented on the ground to real global needs.
The meeting also proposed the creation of a technology hub that would link institutions active in the field to decide what needs to be done in technology development, deployment and transfer.
Cooperative research on ways to draw breakthrough technology into the market, including clean-energy technology and intellectual property rights in terms of technology in developing countries was also proposed.
The impact of the US decision not to join the Kyoto Protocol was another topic of discussion at the Bangkok meeting.
De Boer said a large number of countries, mainly developing ones, discussed continuing the Kyoto Protocol, while many industrialised nation said they wanted a new agreement under the convention.
Both developing and industrialised countries said some serious decisions would have to be made in Copenhagen.
“Integration of the US into the Kyoto Protocol is not an option,” de Boer said.
The Nation, Published on October 3, 2009