The final round of talks ahead of next month’s landmark climate change summit in Copenhagen kicked off today with a warning from the chief United Nations negotiator that time is running out to produce a comprehensive, fair and effective new deal to fight global warming.
This last negotiating session in Barcelona is designed to close the gap between industrialized and developing nations on issues, such as funding to aid adaptation to global warming, technology cooperation, and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in developing countries.
Speaking to over 4,000 participants from 181 countries at the five-day gathering, aimed at hammering out a negotiating text for the 7 to 18 December conference in Copenhagen, the UN official said that progress at these talks are critical to the success of any treaty.
“After almost two years of negotiations… the clock has almost ticked down to zero,” stressed Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty encouraging nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In Copenhagen, governments are expected to agree to a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 treaty – part of the overall UNFCCC – which has strong, legally binding measures committing 37 industrialized States to cutting emissions by an average of 5 per cent against 1990 levels over the period from 2008 to 2012.
“The targets of industrialized countries that are presently on the table are clearly not ambitious enough,” said Mr. de Boer in light of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) study which found that to stave off the worst effects of climate change, industrialized countries must slash emissions by 25 to 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, and that global emissions must be halved by 2050.
Agreement on precise financial contributions from industrialized countries is needed ahead of Copenhagen, Mr. de Boer said in Barcelona, stressing that above all “clarity on what the prompt start-up finance will be to unleash urgent action in developing countries.”
“World leaders from the North and South are calling for an ambitious and comprehensive outcome at Copenhagen, and concerned citizens around the world are demanding strengthened action on climate change,” said Mr. de Boer.
“There are only five days to further narrow down options and come up with working texts for Copenhagen, but I am convinced that this can be done.”