‘Low’ expectations from new round of climate talks
Officials from 170 countries gather in Bonn for a new
global warming pact:
There is discord between rich and poor nations on
curbing greenhouse gases:
UNITED NATIONS: Officials from some 170 countries gather in Bonn from
Monday to lay the groundwork for a new global warming pact, as Europe
pushes for progress amid fears of political and financial wavering.
Teams of experts and diplomats will seek to outline a work plan for
clinching a new deal by 2015 on limiting Earth-warming gas emissions,
but observers fear squabbling and political inertia may hamstring
“A lot of other issues are competing for space and time,” climate
change observer Alden Meyer told AFP ahead of the May 14 to 25 talks.
“It all comes down to politics and national interests.” The gathering is
the first since UN member states agreed in Durban, South Africa, last
December to bring all major greenhouse-gas emitting countries under a
single legal roof from 2020.
Since then, anger has been brewing over Europe's imposition of a
carbon emissions tax on international airlines from January 1 -- which
countries like India and the United States have warned could derail
There is also discord between rich and poor nations about how much
proportional responsiblity each should bear for curbing greenhouse
“We must continue to move forward,” European commissioner for Climate
Connie Hedegaard urged this week at a meeting of European nations,
least-developed countries (LDCs) and the Alliance of Small Island States
(AOSIS). “We need to be more ambitious, not less, so we need more people
on board,” she said.
Observers say geopolitical realities are tying the hands of countries
like the United States, which will hold presidential elections this
year, and Japan which is dealing with the economic fallout of last
year's tsunami and nuclear melt-down.
“The US doesn't want to be talking about putting more money on the
table before the presidential election,” said Meyer, policy director for
the Union of Concerned Scientists watchdog body. “If there is no sense
from developing countries that the northern countries are serious about
the financial pledges that they made ... that will make them dig in
their heels on a lot of other issues and that will make progress very
difficult,” he warned.
Hedegaard had also urged rich countries to deliver on promises of
finance to aid developing nations emission-curbing efforts, adding: “we
need not to underestimate the risk of back-tracking.” The Bonn talks
will seek to lay the groundwork for the next UN climate conference in
Doha in November and December, where countries must formally adopt an
amendment to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
This as scientists warn that the target agreed at the chaotic
Copenhagen summit of 2009 to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius
(3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels, could be missed.
Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network Europe, a coalition
of non-governmental climate bodies, said expectations for the Bonn talks
“Countries have different positions on what to do, he said. “Some
countries like AOSIS, the LCDs and the EU want to start working ... and
get agreement on a work plan as soon as possible, while others such as
the US and India prefer to only have some brainstorming and not engage
in any negotiations.” AFP