Climate talks risk failure unless they accelerate

In Europe, Governments & Politics, News Headlines

U.N. talks on a new climate treaty due to be agreed in December risk failure unless negotiations accelerate, a senior U.N. official said on Friday after a sluggish week-long session among 180 nations.

Negotiators made scant progress at the Aug 10-14 talks toward breaking deadlock on a shareout of curbs on greenhouse gases among rich and poor, or raising funds to help developing nations adapt to climate changes.
“If we continue at this rate we’re not going to make it,” Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference of the August 10-14 meeting in Bonn.
He said that only “selective progress” has been made in Bonn, one of a series of talks meant to end with agreement on a new U.N. treaty in Copenhagen in December.
De Boer said that there were 15 days of negotiations left before Copenhagen, at meetings in Bangkok in September-October and in Barcelona in November.
“It is clear that there is quite a significant uphill battle if we are going to get there,” said Jonathan Pershing, head of the U.S. delegation. But he said there were some signs of movement.

“You absolutely can get there,” he said.

Developing nations accused the rich of failing to take the lead in making deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and of trying to get poor to take on too much of the burden.
China and India want the rich, for instance, to make cuts in greenhouse gases of at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 to avert the worst of climate change such as floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels. They say they need billions of dollars in aid and clean technology to help cope.
“We still have the same problems that have been hindering us,” China’s climate ambassador Yu Qingtai told Reuters of the rich-poor deadlock.
He said that China was keen to see it emissions peak but that fighting poverty had to remain an overriding priority.
Many delegates said that a meeting of world leaders at the United Nations in New York and a meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 in Pittsburgh, both in September, could help give guidance and break the deadlock.
The European Union also said that offers on the table by developed nations fell far short of a goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
“When we sum them up we find they are gravely insufficient,” said Anders Turesson, the chief negotiator of Sweden which holds the EU presidency.
“They would lead us into a three degree world,” he said.
The EU has promised cuts of 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, or 30 percent if other rich nations also make similar cuts. He also said that developing nations had to show “more engagement.”

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