Progress on latest climate negotiations mixed, top UN official says

2 October 2009

Progress on climate change negotiations, geared towards December’s summit in Copenhagen where a new agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions is set to be reached, has been mixed at the latest round of talks, a top United Nations official has reported.

Some 4,000 people – including government delegates from 177 countries and representatives from the private sector and environmental organizations – are in Bangkok, Thailand, for a two-week penultimate round of negotiations, which kicked off on Monday, ahead of the meeting in the Danish capital.

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that he found it encouraging that strides have been made in key areas, including adaptation, technology and building developing nations’ capacity to deal with global warming.

In a positive development, he said that negotiators are finally getting into the text and starting to shorten the lengthy document.

However, Mr. de Boer said that he is disappointed by the lack of progress made by industrialized nations towards curbing their emissions, as well as by progress on financing.

The Bangkok talks come on the heels of last week’s high-level summit, the largest ever on climate change, convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters in New York.

That event drew some 100 heads of State and government who issued a call for a comprehensive pact to be reached in Copenhagen. The leaders also underscored the need to boost action to help the world’s most vulnerable and poorest adapt to global warming, as well as the importance of industrialized countries agreeing on ambitious emissions reduction targets.

“Your words have been heard around the world. Let your actions now be seen. There is little time left. The opportunity and responsibility to avoid catastrophic climate change is in your hands,” Mr. Ban said at the end of the New York summit.

The last round of negotiations before the Copenhagen conference will take place in Barcelona, Spain, in November.


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