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Talks next week in Bonn to set stage for future action on climate change – UN official

Talks next week in Bonn to set stage for future action on climate change – UN official

Aiming to advance international efforts on climate change, representatives of governments from across the globe will gather in Bonn next week under United Nations auspices to discuss new proposals, including a significant increase in the levels of emission reductions required under the Kyoto Protocol, a senior official dealing with the issue said today.

Richard Kinley, the Acting Head of the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters in New York that the talks starting on 18 May will include a “Dialogue on Long-term Cooperation,” involving all parties to the treaty that aims to build consensus on how to address climate in the longer term. These will be followed by negotiations on what to do after the 2008-2012 period, which is the first commitment period under the legally binding Kyoto Protocol.

To date, 163 States have ratified the Protocol, including 35 countries and the European Economic Community, which are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the treaty. The United States is not a party.

Asked about Washington’s position, Mr. Kinley said US officials would be participating in the Dialogue and had made a submission focused on technology development and research.

He described a number of proposals on the table in Bonn, such as extending a new commitment period up to the year 2025 or 2030. “There are also calls for much more significant reductions than what are called for in the Kyoto Protocol by industrialized countries,” he said, noting that the European Union had suggested 15 to 30 per cent cuts, compared to the to Kyoto average of about five per cent.

Describing the current mood on the issue, he said developing countries were waiting for industrialized States to demonstrate real leadership on limiting their emissions before agreeing to accept binding commitments, while in the industrialized world, there was a feeling that more action by developing countries was required.

Despite these differing views, Mr. Kinley saw possibilities for common ground. “There is strong consensus about the urgency of the problem; that there really needs to be action taken and that the international community needs to work together to address the problem,” he said.