Ambitious global climate change agreement in sight, says top UN official

Desertification is caused by climatic variations and human actions

12 June 2009 – An ambitious and effective global pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is in sight, the top United Nations climate change official said today, as the latest round of negotiations wrapped up in Bonn, Germany.

Delegates from 183 countries met for two weeks to discuss, for the first time, key negotiating texts which can serve as the basis for the global climate change deal, to be clinched in Copenhagen in December.

“A big achievement of this meeting is that governments have made it clearer what they want to see in the Copenhagen agreed outcome,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“In my view, an ambitious and effective agreed outcome in Copenhagen is in sight – an outcome that provides a strong and definitive answer to the alarm raised by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

The Copenhagen outcome is to follow on the first phase of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012.

The negotiating text under consideration covers issues of a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, enhanced action on adaptation, mitigation and finance, as well as technology and capacity-building.

A group looking at further commitments for industrialized countries under the Kyoto Protocol focused on a proposal for amendments to the Protocol, including the future emission reduction commitments of 37 industrialized countries for the second phase of the Protocol.

Mr. de Boer noted that the group was still far away from the emission reduction range that has been set out by science to avoid the worst ravages of climate change – a minus 25 per cent to minus 40 per cent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020.

“Between now and Copenhagen, the level of ambition needs to be increased. This is still possible if the opportunities for international cooperative action are fully seized,” he stated.

The gathering in Germany, which brought together more than 4,600 participants from government, business and industry, environmental groups and research institutions, was the second in a series of five major UN negotiating sessions slated for this year ahead of Copenhagen.

The next meeting is scheduled to be held from 10 to 14 August in Bonn, followed by sessions in Bangkok from 28 September to 9 October and Barcelona from 2 to 6 November.


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