UN climate change talks in Bonn to follow up Kyoto

Negotiators opened a UN meeting Monday aimed at helping pave the way to a follow-up deal to the Kyoto plan on fighting climate change by the end of next year.

UN climate change talks in Bonn to follow up Kyoto
Photo: DPA

More than 2,400 participants—including representatives of 172 countries, business leaders, environmental activists and researchers—have gathered in the western German city of Bonn for two weeks of talks. The meeting, one of three remaining this year, is a follow-up to an intense round of negotiations in Bangkok in early April where rich and poor countries clashed on the burden they must bear to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said he was confident that countries understood the urgency of the problem.

“Countries gathering in Bangkok showed a strong political commitment to negotiate and agree the work programme for negotiations up to 2009,” De Boer said. “The challenge is now to move ahead and start identifying what could be written into the 2009 outcome.”

The Bonn talks will focus on adaptation to the current effects of global warming, financing of climate protection measures and the availability of “green” technology.

“The objective is to get all the proposals on the table, with governments providing concrete input for the negotiations,” said Luiz Figueiredo Machado, head of long-term cooperative action under the UNFCCC.

De Boer said he was hopeful there would be progress. “There is a huge global consciousness that urgent international action needs to be taken this year and the next. So we can expect good progress at this meeting,” he said.

The treaty due to be hammered out in Copenhagen in December 2009 is meant to provide an action plan after the Kyoto Protocol’s obligations to cut greenhouse gas emissions expire at the end of 2012. he United States, which snubbed Kyoto, and developing nations, which have no obligations under it, agreed at a conference in December in Bali, Indonesia to negotiate to craft the next treaty.

UN scientists warn that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions could put millions of people at risk by century’s end.