Progress falters on road map to new climate deal

Another round of talks on the road towards a new global deal on climate change was wrapping up in Germany on Friday, battered by criticism that progress had been negligible.

The 12-day haggle under the 192-nation United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was the second since the accord in Bali, Indonesia, last December that set down a “road map” towards a new planetary treaty.

Officials said some ground had been cleared but admitted to worries about what lay ahead.

The goal is to conclude the most ambitious and complex environmental pact ever attempted in December 2009 in Copenhagen.

“We now have a clear understanding among governments on what countries would ultimately like to see written into a long-term agreement to address climate change,” UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer said.

“But with a little more than a year to go to Copenhagen, the challenge to come to that agreement remains daunting.”

The proposed pact would take effect from the end of 2012, when the current provisions of the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol expire.

It would be a template for reining in greenhouse gases in the next decade, encouraging the transfer of clean technology and providing financial help to poor countries likely to bear the brunt of climate change.

Delegates said progress was mainly stymied by a who-goes-first question on concessions.

Developing nations say the responsibility for global warming lies historically with rich countries, who are best placed for tackling it.

So they want the rich nations to come up with detailed proposals as to how they intended to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions post-2012.

On the other hand, many rich nations want to see how emerging giants such as China and India—set to be the biggest sources of greenhouse gases in the decades to come—intend to deal with their own fast-growing pollution.

India representative Chandrashekar Dasgupta deplored “the lack of any real progress” in Bonn and “a deafening silence” among industrialised countries, save the European Union.

The EU unilaterally plans to cut its carbon pollution by 20% by 2020 and has offered to deepen this to 30% if other major emitters follow suit.—AFP

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