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UN-backed global climate change meeting kicks off

UN-backed global climate change meeting kicks off

United Nations-backed climate change talks drawing 1,000 representatives from over 150 Governments, business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions kicked off in Vienna today, preparing the way for a global summit set for later this year in Bali.

The summit, scheduled to take place from 3 to 14 December in Bali, Indonesia, aims to determine 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 – the current global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – in 2012.

“All in all, the Vienna Climate Change Talks present an opportunity to measure the temperature of the climate change process: whether or not the political community is willing to advance a comprehensive agenda on a future climate change regime post-2012 in Bali,” said UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer.

Last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that countries must agree to a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol to be ready for ratification three years before it expires to allow them to make it law in time.

This week’s meeting will take place in two segments. The first, running from 27 to 29 August, will focus on the theme “Dialogue on long-term cooperative action to address climate change,” while the second, taking place from 30 to 31 August, will concentrate on negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol.

At the start of today’s session, Austria’s Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Josef Pröll, characterized climate change as a “huge challenge” that must be addressed at the global level and through an integrated approach.

“Each year without mitigation measures is a year which drives the human and financial cost of adaptation steeply upwards,” Mr. Pröll said.

Also addressing the meeting today, Maria Madalena Brito Neves, Minister of Agriculture and Environment of Cape Verde, warned that climate change could undo economic progress.

“Climate change can potentially offset all the gains made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” she said, referring to a series of targets to slash a host of social ills by 2015. “Small island developing States are particularly affected.”

Tomorrow, UNFCCC will present a new report that underscores the major changes to patterns of investment and financial flows required to tackle climate change in the next quarter century.

The study analyzed both existing and potential investment and financial flows relevant to developing an international response to climate change, and found that the additional amount of investment and financial flows in 2030 will amount to between 1.1 and 1.7 per cent of global investment. Another key finding of the study is that $200 to $210 billion worth of additional investment and financial flows will be necessary to return greenhouse gas emissions to current levels.