Delegates down to work on climate

Negotiators from 181 countries have begun work in Bonn on the first draft of a new climate-change treaty, seeing it as a good beginning, Reuters reported, despite complaints that the document is unbalanced and incomplete. Whether developing economies such as China and India must commit to controlling their greenhouse-gas emissions – legally or voluntarily – was among the dozens of unresolved issues.


Tough negotiations lie ahead on the draft, which “represents a significant new step in the talks”, said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The delegates are working toward a successor agreement to the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.


Michael Zammit Cutajar, the UNFCCC official who compiled the draft from dozens of countries’ position papers, acknowledged that it was “complex” and “messy”. The documents present a range of options on core issues. Those issues include industrial countries’ reductions in carbon emissions; raising tens of billions of US dollars to help poor countries adapt to climate change; and compensating tropical countries for slowing the destruction of the rain forests.


Countries were expected to make further additions to the draft before starting to make deals, weed out proposals and sharpen the text into a consensus document. Four more negotiating conferences are scheduled this year, ending in Copenhagen in December, when a new climate agreement is due to be adopted.


See full story