‘Bad news’ on warming should spur UN talks
The UN’s climate chief urged negotiators gathering for new talks to heed a double dose of “bad news” that global warming could bust a threshold widely considered safe.
Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, urged nations at the 12-day talks in Bonn to uphold their pledge to peg warming to 2 C.
“Now, more than ever, it is critical that all efforts are mobilised towards living up to this commitment,” she said in a webcast press conference.
Ms Figueres pointed to “bad news” in the form of carbon emissions data released by the International Energy Agency and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Paris-based IEA said last month that carbon from energy use reached a record high in 2010 while NOAA said atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in May had scaled a new peak.
The Bonn talks are meant to lay the groundwork for the next round of high-level negotiations in December in Durban, South Africa.
Some wealthy nations led by the US favour restricting the scope of the Durban round to consolidating progress made in Cancun, Mexico, last December.
These include the creation of a “green fund” for developing countries that could reach $100 billion a year, a system for monitoring national schemes to reduce emissions, and programmes to boost clean technologies and help poor nations cope with climate change.
“If we take these steps and start to build the new institutions needed for a pragmatic international regime, COP 17 in Durban will be a solid success,” said Jonathan Pershing, the top US negotiator in Bonn.
Developing nations, led by China and other major emerging economies, have embraced these goals, but major disagreements remain on how they should take shape.
Another big area of discord is over the future of the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol, the sole treaty that sets down legally-binding emissions targets.
These requirements only apply to advanced economies, except the US, which refuses to ratify Kyoto.
The G77 and China group – a bloc of 131 developing countries – reiterated on Monday its demand for Kyoto pledges to be renewed when the present commitment period ends at the end of 2012.
This would be “one of the key outcomes” in Durban, the group said in a press release. “Its continuity demands a strong political decision from all parties”.
Russia, Japan and Canada, however, have said they will not sign up for a new round of cuts unless rising giants such as China, India and Brazil accept constraints as well.