Extra U.N. climate talks set for April in Bangkok
Talks aim to fill out proposals made during the Cancun summit in Dec. 2010, including the developing country fund.
Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 05:23 AM
THAI CLIMATE: Bangkok, Thailand at night. The city will host one of one of the three U.N. conferences on climate change in 2011. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
OSLO - Climate negotiators from almost 200 nations will hold an extra session in Bangkok in April to try to unblock work on a successor to the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol for slowing global warming, officials said on Jan. 28.
They said that 2011 is likely to mark a slowdown in the overall number of U.N. meetings about climate change after a rush of talks since 2007 failed to come up with a treaty.
"The session...will be held in Bangkok from April 3 to 8," according to an official who took part in a video conference meeting this week. The Bangkok talks will gather senior government negotiators.
The meeting adds to an existing schedule of a June session in Bonn, Germany and annual talks among environment ministers in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011. Another session is likely to be added between Bonn and Durban.
In Mexico last month, ministers agreed steps including a deal to set up a new fund to channel aid to developing nations as well as a goal of limiting any rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times.
Officials say talks in 2011 will try to fill in the details of many of those plans, including greenhouse gas cuts meant to help avert ever more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels predicted by the U.N. panel of climate experts.
The biggest unsolved issue is finding a successor to the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, which obliges almost 40 developed nations to cut greenhouse emissions by at least 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 during the period 2008-12.
Japan, Russia and Canada have said they will not extend cuts beyond December 31, 2012 unless all major emitters — led by China and the United States — sign up for a binding deal. The United States never ratified Kyoto, arguing it would cost U.S. jobs and wrongly omitted binding goals for emerging nations.
Developing nations say that rich nations, most responsible for burning fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution, must extend Kyoto while they sign up for less strict curbs on their rising emissions.
Many nations doubt that a legally binding pact can be agreed soon, partly because of opposition in the U.S. Senate to calls by President Barack Obama for cuts in U.S. emissions by 2020.
Obama promised measures to promote clean energy in his State of the Union address on Jan. 26 but did not once mention "climate change."
Copyright 2011 Reuters Environmental Online Report