Global perspective Human stories

Experts prepare for UN conference on global warming

Experts prepare for UN conference on global warming

Yvo de Boer
One thousand representatives from governments, business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions will gather in Vienna at the end of this month to set the stage for a major United Nations conference in December on further reducing the greenhouse gases from human activity blamed for global warming.

The conference in Bali, Indonesia, from 3 to 14 December seeks to determining future action on mitigation, adaptation, the global carbon market and financing responses to climate change for the period after the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol. That pact, appended to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), contains legally binding emission reduction targets through 2012.

“The discussions in Vienna on possible future emission reduction commitments for industrialized countries, and on strengthened implementation of the UNFCCC, can form the main building blocks of a new climate change regime,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said.

“What I then hope Bali will agree on is a negotiating agenda over the next two years that will craft an effective, long-term post-2012 regime.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will convene a high-level meeting on the issue in New York on 24 September, has said a successor to the Kyoto Protocol must be ready for ratification three years before 2012 to allow time for countries to ratify it.

The Vienna meeting from 27 to 31 August – the fourth ‘Workshop under the Dialogue on long-term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the Convention and the fourth ‘Session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments – involves all 191 Parties to the UNFCCC.

The UNFCCC secretariat will present results from the analysis of existing and planned investment flows and finance schemes relevant to the development of effective and appropriate international response to climate change.

“This analysis is significant because traditional investment needs to be redirected to more climate-friendly and climate-proof alternatives. Failure to achieve changes in investment and financial flows for mitigation will lead to higher emissions, more climate change impacts and larger financial needs for adaptation in the future,” Mr. de Boer said.

The latest meetings follow a series of UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports showing unequivocal evidence that world is warming, almost certainly due to human activity, with potentially disastrous effects including more extreme temperatures, new wind patterns, worsening drought in some regions and heavier rainfall in others, melting glaciers and Arctic ice, and rising global average sea levels.