Global climate talks make headway: UN

Sep 05, 2012 by Daniel Rook
The United Nations on Wednesday hailed "concrete progress" at week-long climate talks in Bangkok, but environmental campaigners warned much faster action was needed to combat global warming.

The United Nations on Wednesday hailed "concrete progress" at week-long climate talks in Bangkok, but environmental campaigners warned much faster action was needed to combat global warming.

The informal negotiations aimed to prepare for a November 26-December 7 ministerial meeting under the (UNFCCC) in Doha—a stepping stone towards a worldwide emissions pact.

The UNFCCC said in a statement that the talks had made "concrete progress on key issues".

"We have a fertile ground for a successful Doha," UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told reporters.

"There are still some tough political decisions ahead, but we now have a positive momentum and a greater sense of convergence that will stimulate higher-level political discussions ahead of Doha and set a faster pace of work once this year's conference begins," she added in the statement.

If approved as scheduled in 2015, the new pact would take effect in 2020, becoming the prime weapon in the fight against climate change.

For the first time, it would bring all major greenhouse-gas emitters under a single legal roof.

But who will make concessions and how the mooted treaty will work are among the many issues to be agreed, and the process will be a marathon.

Governments began preliminary discussions on the design of the accord and ways to meet the UN target to limit the rise in global to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

"What I think more and more people see is that climate change is happening. We will have to do something about it," said EU chief negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger. "The sense of urgency is creeping into the negotiations."

Delegates also grappled for progress on a second commitment period for the 1997 , whose first roster of legally-binding carbon curbs expires at the end of this year.

Agreement on the future of the Protocol—the only treaty that binds advanced economies to targeted emissions curbs—is key to a deal on the new treaty.

Kyoto's future lies in the hands of the European Union (EU), for it has been abandoned by almost every other major industrialised emitter.

Developing countries representing over a billion people issued a joint statement saying they feared Kyoto's environmental integrity "is eroding before our eyes" and rich countries had to beef up their emissions pledges "without conditions".

Environmentalists, meanwhile, warned that a string of recent extreme weather events around the globe including deadly typhoons, devastating floods and severe droughts show urgent action on emission cuts is needed.

They also pointed to other evidence that climate change is taking its toll, including the announcement last week that sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to a record seasonal low this summer.

Greenpeace's Tove Maria Ryding described the as "small steps for governments, but major steps backward for humanity".

"We're seeing at the moment that ice can definitely move faster than governments," she added.

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the world was already seeing the "devastating impacts" of human-induced .

"The time for finger-pointing, blame-casting, and hiding behind the inaction of other countries is over. We cannot afford those kind of games. What we need is political will for action and we need much greater ambition," he said.

Explore further: Tourists evacuated amid Iceland volcano concerns

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Storms, drought overshadow UN climate talks

Aug 31, 2012

World climate change negotiators faced warnings Thursday that a string of extreme weather events around the globe show urgent action on emission cuts is needed as they opened new talks in Bangkok.

EU urges roadmap this year on climate action

Oct 03, 2011

The European Union urged all nations Sunday to make clear how they will tackle climate change, saying the world needs a roadmap this year on future action even if a treaty appears out of reach.

UN climate chief warns on Kyoto Protocol deadline

Apr 04, 2011

Commitments by most developed countries to cut carbon emissions are likely to expire at the end of next year without a new round of legally binding pledges, the UN's climate chief warned Monday.

Next round of UN climate talks set for Bangkok

Jun 01, 2012

A new round of climate talks will be held in Bangkok from August 30 to September 5 to prepare for minister-level negotiations at year end, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said on Friday.

Recommended for you

NASA image: Signs of deforestation in Brazil

5 hours ago

Multiple fires are visible in in this image of the Para and Mato Grosso states of Brazil. Many of these were most likely intentionally set in order to deforest the land. Deforestation is the removal of a ...

Sunblock poses potential hazard to sea life

6 hours ago

The sweet and salty aroma of sunscreen and seawater signals a relaxing trip to the shore. But scientists are now reporting that the idyllic beach vacation comes with an environmental hitch. When certain sunblock ...

Is falling recycling rate due to 'green fatigue'?

6 hours ago

It's been suggested that a recent fall in recycling rates is due to green fatigue, caused by the confusing number of recycling bins presented to householders for different materials. Recycling rates woul ...

Study to inform Maryland decision on "fracking"

9 hours ago

The Maryland Department of Environment and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released on August 18, 2014, a report by the University of Maryland School of Public Health, which assesses the potential ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PeterD
1 / 5 (4) Sep 05, 2012
More human caused climate change nonsense. Everything that is happening now has happened before, most recently beginning in AD 800.
Howhot
5 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2012
No PeterD, you are about as wrong as an upside down drain pipe.
hagger
1 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2012
Howhot...sorry PeterD is correct..97% of CO2 is produced by the bio mass of the earth..we contribute 3%..the effect of the sun and surface and under water volcanoes are not included in any climate change models..250BC-450AD there was a roman warming..950AD-1400AD the medieval warming..there was no industry,cars,aircraft,or any CO2 producing human activity involved..the medieval warming was far warmer than now..during warming crops were plentiful and few serious famines.warming increases human activity and we prosper..450-420 million years ago atmospheric CO2 was 4000ppmv and there was glaciation..so it proves it does not drive global warming as this number is far higher than now..the level of CO2 is at it's lowest in the earth's history.the so called 'tipping' point has been disproved..much of what the enviromental facists would have you believe has been disproved so many times it's laughable.you should be more concerned with HAARP a US military climate experiment in vandalism