environment correspondent
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Jun 19, 2011

Hopes fading for climate agreement

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – “Ask for a camel when you expect to get a goat,” runs a Somali saying that sums up the fading of ambitions for United Nations talks on slowing climate change — aim high, but settle for far less.

Developing nations publicly insist the rich must agree far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but increasingly believe that only a weaker deal can actually be achieved to keep the existing Kyoto Protocol, or parts of it, alive beyond 2012.

Jun 19, 2011

Analysis: Hopes fading for climate agreement

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – “Ask for a camel when you expect to get a goat,” runs a Somali saying that sums up the fading of ambitions for United Nations talks on slowing climate change — aim high, but settle for far less.

Developing nations publicly insist the rich must agree far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but increasingly believe that only a weaker deal can actually be achieved to keep the existing Kyoto Protocol, or parts of it, alive beyond 2012.

Jun 17, 2011

U.N. climate talks make scant progress to save Kyoto

BONN (Reuters) – Negotiators made scant progress toward salvaging the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol for fighting climate change beyond 2012 at two weeks of talks ending on Friday, delegates said.

“When you look at the progress …it is very uneven,” said Adrian Macey of New Zealand, chairing a session of talks among 180 nations in Bonn about the Kyoto Protocol, which risks dying beyond 2012 due to lack of support.

Jun 16, 2011

Call for votes to spur climate talks faces hurdles

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – A proposal by Mexico and Papua New Guinea to kick-start U.N. climate talks by shifting to voting on major decisions from an ill-defined need for consensus may face insurmountable hurdles, experts say.

“We want to break this process where the slowest is allowed to hold everyone else up,” Kevin Conrad, of Papua New Guinea, told Reuters of the proposal on the sidelines of U.N. negotiations in Bonn from June 6-17.

Jun 15, 2011

Weather, economy may spur climate “tipping point”

BONN/LONDON (Reuters) – More weather disasters and economic recovery could bring a “tipping point” that jolts governments into far tougher action to combat climate change, the U.N. climate chief said on Wednesday.

Christiana Figueres also told Reuters that government efforts so far to combat global warming were nowhere near enough to avert heatwaves, droughts, mudslides and rising sea levels projected by the U.N. panel of climate scientists.

Jun 15, 2011

U.N. urges G20 to do more to phase out subsidies

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – Big economies should do more to phase out damaging subsidies on fossil fuels, farming and fisheries that are hindering a shift to a green economy, the head of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Wednesday.

The Group of 20 leading economies agreed at a summit in 2009 to phase out damaging fossil fuel subsidies in the “medium term” — a step that would help cut greenhouse gas emissions and free up investments for cleaner energies to fight climate change.

Jun 14, 2011

World urged to stop net desertification by 2030

BONN (Reuters) – The world should set a goal of halting net desertification by 2030 to stem annual losses of farmland equivalent to three times the size of Switzerland, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.

“Drylands are on the front line of the climate change challenges for the world,” Luc Gnacadja, head of the Bonn-based U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), told the Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit.

Jun 14, 2011

Reuters Summit – World urged to stop net desertification by 2030

BONN (Reuters) – The world should set a goal of halting net desertification by 2030 to stem annual losses of farmland equivalent to three times the size of Switzerland, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.

“Drylands are on the front line of the climate change challenges for the world,” Luc Gnacadja, head of the Bonn-based U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), told the Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit.

Jun 14, 2011

Soot, smog curbs quick way to combat warming: U.N. study

BONN (Reuters) – Tighter limits on soot and smog provide a quick and easy way to fight global warming while protecting human health and raising crop output, a U.N. study said on Tuesday.

It outlined 16 measures, ranging from plugging leaky gas transport pipelines to improving wood burning stoves, to limit “black carbon” — soot — methane and tropospheric ozone, which is a greenhouse gas that is a big component of smog.

Jun 13, 2011

Analysis: Economy, public seen key to climate deal

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – Wider public unease about climate change and stronger economic growth are likely to be needed to revive sluggish U.N. talks after hopes for quick agreement on a treaty have fizzled, experts say.

Many nations at U.N. talks in Bonn from June 6-17 seem resigned to a long haul — more like arms reduction talks or U.N. trade negotiations — after failure to agree a binding U.N. climate deal by an end-2009 deadline at a summit in Copenhagen.