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Getting down to business at U.N. climate talks a hard task
A U.N. concession to delegates at this week’s climate talks in Bonn to take off jackets and ties due to recent high temperatures may be going to some participants’ heads.
Breaking the back of negotiations for a new climate pact after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 is proving hard work even though the talks’ chair hopes to have a new negotiating text on the table by the end of the week.
Developing nations are still blaming the rich for global warming and the issue of who will contribute most to climate financing is still a matter for debate.
A year-end meeting in Cancun looms closer and the pressure is on to get the job done.
Yet, the acronyms being bandied around — LULUCF, CDM, AAU, AWG-KP, AWG-LCA, REDD, to name a few — are enough to make your head swim.
Even a Chinese negotiator on Tuesday admitted he did not understand a complicated forestry and land use presentation the previous day by the European Union.
Talks kicked off on Monday with a three-hour session during which countries spent an inordinate amount of time thanking the chair and congratulating the new U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres on her post.
Delegates didn’t manage to finish the day’s business by the evening and had to continue into Tuesday, despite calls from the chair of the talks to keep to a very tight schedule.
Getting down to business was hampered further after the Saudi Arabia delegation withdrew calls for Oxfam and WWF to be banned from the talks for five years.
At the last conference in June, activists broke the nameplate in front of the Saudi delegation, threw the bits down a toilet and took photos.
The incident, though carried out by two individuals who have since been barred from talks, created a furore which threatened to overshadow the June meetings.
“Saudi Arabia is a forgiving society, and our culture allows us to forgive whoever commits a wrong against us, as long as he or she admits it and apologises,” said the country’s head negotiator Mohammad Al-Sabban this week.
Now wrapped up and hopefully forgotten, it is hoped that the talks can get down to getting some kind of consensus on emissions cuts and how much countries need to spend to help developing nations affected by climate change.