UN conference sets agenda for talks on further cuts in greenhouse gas emissions

Michael Cutajar, UNFCCC Executive-Secretary

26 May 2006 – Delegates at a United Nations sponsored-conference on climate change have agreed on how to pursue negotiations on further cuts in greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, officials who participated in the first round of talks concluded in Bonn, Germany, today, said in a statement.

Describing the meeting as “successful,” officials said it has set an “ambitious agenda,” which focuses on a sound process leading towards science-based emission reduction targets on the part of industrialized countries with in the next few years.

“There is a strong sense of urgency and there’s a clear consensus that there should be no gap after 2012 when the first commitment period ends,” said Michael Zammit Cutajar, who chairs one of the working groups under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Protocol requires 36 industrial countries to reduce to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them. Overall, according to officials, this should amount to reductions of at least 5 per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

Developing countries, which will be hit hardest by climate change, are pushing for rapid agreement on deeper emission cuts, according to officials. “This is the message we have also been hearing from business leaders meeting here in Bonn,” said Richard Kinley, acting head of the Climate Change Secretariat. “They have underlined the importance of speedy process from their perspective. Obviously, the carbon market needs clear signals.”

The talks in Bonn also included discussions on new technologies and the role of the private sector, officials said, adding that the first round of the “Dialogue on long-term cooperative action” was open to all 189 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is the Kyoto Protocol’s parent treaty.

“Industrialized countries have emphasised the importance of these negotiations based on the latest scientific data and taking into account new technological solutions available today,” explained Feng Gao, the Convention’s Deputy Executive Secretary for Implementation.

Mr. Gao said negotiations on the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol and the “Dialogue on the long-term cooperative action” are “mutually reinforcing” in shaping international action to fight climate change.

Noting that much progress has been made in the Convention’s subsidiary bodies during the talks in Bonn, Halldor Thorgeirsson, Deputy Executive Secretary for scientific and technical advice, added: “Representatives have been excited by the prospects offered by the new technologies such as carbon capture and storage. Countries agreed to take forward the work on reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries.”

The next round of negotiation on Kyoto Protocol and the Convention on Climate Change will at take place in Nairobi, Kenya, in November.

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