Climate Change Correspondent, Asia, Singapore
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Oct 8, 2009

Rich nations need to ante-up in climate talks: U.N.

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Poorer countries are helping shape a broader pact to fight climate change but their efforts are being stymied by rich nations’ lack of commitment on finance and tougher emissions cuts, the U.N. said on Thursday.

Funding to help poorer nations is a make-or-break issue in negotiations to seal a broader climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol at a summit in Copenhagen in December.

Oct 7, 2009

Mexico calls U.S. a “stumbling block” in U.N. climate talks

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The United States came under pressure to show leadership in U.N. climate talks on Wednesday with Mexico saying its neighbor is a stumbling block in efforts to try to craft a tough global climate agreement by December.

The United States has been criticized by developing countries and green groups in talks in the Thai capital for not being able to put a tough emissions reduction target for 2020 on the table, instead focusing on a 2050 target.

Oct 7, 2009

Poor nations need to join global climate fund: Mexico

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Poor nations demanding a slice of rich countries’ GDP to fight climate change is a waste of time, and the fairest method would be a global fund to which all major emitting nations would contribute, Mexico said on Wednesday.

Mexico has proposed the creation of a green fund based on nations’ historical and current greenhouse gas emissions, GDP and population as a way to unlock potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in annual spending.

Oct 7, 2009

Senior G77 members protest steps to change Kyoto pact

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Senior G77 members walked out of a meeting during climate talks in the Thai capital saying they would not discuss a future without the Kyoto Protocol climate pact, delegates said on Wednesday.

South Africa’s lead negotiator, China and OPEC countries left the informal session late on Tuesday that was discussing the shape of new climate agreement that would bind all nations in the fight against climate change.

Oct 7, 2009

U.S. "stumbling block" in U.N. climate talks-Mexico

BANGKOK, Oct 7 (Reuters) – The United States came under pressure to show leadership in U.N. climate talks on Wednesday with Mexico saying its neighbour is a stumbling block in efforts to try to craft a tough global climate agreement by December.

The United States has been criticised by developing countries and green groups in talks in the Thai capital for not being able to put a tough emissions reduction target for 2020 on the table, instead focusing on a 2050 target.

Developing nations also worry over Washington’s position that any new climate pact should set legally binding domestic steps to cut emissions as a benchmark for global action to fight climate change.

"I think that they are in an uncomfortable position since they cannot put on the table any figures unless the Congress process is clearer," Fernando Tudela, head of the Mexican climate delegation in Bangkok, told Reuters in an interview.

"They are increasingly identified as a stumbling block for the negotiations and it’s up to them to dispel this perception and to show the real leadership we’re expecting from them."

A climate bill drafted by U.S. Senate Democrats aims for a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from 2005 levels. But President Barack Obama’s administration says he is unlikely to sign the legislation before a major December conference in Copenhagen aimed at sealing a new climate pact.

The Senate bill target equates to a 7 percent cut on 1990 levels by 2020, far below the 25-40 percent cuts by then that the U.N. climate panel and developing countries say rich nations should support to avoid dangerous climate change.

"Whenever Congress delivers legislation then once again the U.S. will not be in a process to negotiate because (its) hands will be tied by whatever comes out of the Congress," Tudela said.

"They still have to prove that, in whatever legal form, they are able to deliver the abatement that would be conducive to a fair share towards meeting the climate targets."

Delegates from about 180 nations are in Bangkok to try to narrow differences on sharing the burden of slowing climate change through a tougher agreement that from 2013 would replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto only binds 37 rich nations, not including the United States, to emissions targets between 2008-12.

The Bangkok talks are the last major negotiation round before the Dec 7-18 Copenhagen meeting.

TRANSPARENT

Tudela worried about efforts by the U.S. and other rich nations to shift away from Kyoto to a new framework.

"Our preferance would be to keep Kyoto as it is, and build a compliment to Kyoto, involving enhanced participation from developing countries with support from developed countries and a much enhanced participation of the U.S."

The head of the U.S. delegation, Jonathan Pershing, called on developing nations to be more transparent in what actions they take to curb emissions growth.

Many poorer nations have resisted this unless they receive money and technology to adapt to the impacts of climate change and green their economies.

Big developing nations such as China, India and Indonesia are among the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters.

"The United States is of the view that there are two pieces to what’s binding," Pershing told reporters.

"The first piece is what every country does at home. Our view is that the strongest part of a legal instrument is what we each commit to in our countries. So what we’re looking for is for countries to pass laws to move forward on this issue," he said.

"An international agreement is strong because it supports that national action. We do think it should be binding internationally. We think that countries should take their actions and make them publicly visible, transparent." (For more stories on the Bangkok talks see [ID:nSP457708]) (Editing by Jerry Norton)





Oct 6, 2009

Major non-OECD must halt CO2 growth by 2020: IEA

BANGKOK/LONDON (Reuters) – Carbon emissions from a group of richer emerging economies including Russia, China and the Middle East must stop growing by 2020 to control global warming, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

Developing countries appeared far from committing to that, however, at Sept 28-Oct 9 talks in Thailand meant to drive agreement on a new climate pact in Copenhagen in December.

Oct 6, 2009

China says rich need to honor climate commitments

BANGKOK (Reuters) – China hit out at rich nations on Tuesday, saying failure to honor past climate commitments was undermining U.N.-led efforts to try to seal a broader pact in December to fight global warming.

Speaking on the sidelines of climate talks in the Thai capital, Yu Qingtai, China’s special envoy for climate change, said some nations needed to do some “deep soul-searching.”

Oct 5, 2009

Rich nations trying to kill Kyoto pact, says China

BANGKOK (Reuters) – China and a top G77 official accused rich nations on Monday of trying to kill off the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N.’s main weapon in the fight against global warming, as nations try to craft a broader climate pact.

Delegates from about 180 nations are meeting in the Thai capital trying to bridge differences over a draft negotiating text that will allow all countries to deepen efforts to slow the pace of climate change.

Oct 2, 2009

Climate talks stall on targets, finance

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Efforts to convince rich nations to toughen emissions cuts have failed to make much headway at climate talks in the Thai capital, the U.N. said on Friday.

Delegates from about 180 nations are meeting in Bangkok to try to narrow differences on ways to broaden and deepen the fight against climate change.

Oct 2, 2009

Climate talks stall on targets, finance – U.N.

BANGKOK, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Efforts to convince rich nations to toughen emissions cuts have failed to make much headway at climate talks in the Thai capital, the U.N. said on Friday.

Delegates from about 180 nations are meeting in Bangkok to try to narrow differences on ways to broaden and deepen the fight against climate change.

The Sept. 28-Oct. 9 talks are the last major negotiating session before environment ministers meet in Copenhagen to try to seal a tougher global pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

"Progress towards high industrialised world emissions cuts remains disappointing during these talks. We’re not seeing real advances there," Yvo de Boer, the head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told reporters.

"Movement on the ways and means and institutions to raise, manage and deploy financing support for the developing world climate action also remains slow."

The U.N. climate panel says rich nations should cut emissions between 25-40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid dangerous climate change. But the aggregate cuts pledged by industrialised states remains well below this level.

Many developing nations say rich countries should commit to 40 percent cuts by 2020, blaming them for most of the planet-warming greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels over the past two centuries.

Poorer nations also demand cash and clean-energy technology to help them curb the growth of their own emissions.

CLEARER PICTURE

Negotiators in Bangkok are trying to trim a complex 180-page main draft text that will form the basis of the new climate pact from 2013. The U.N. hopes Bangkok will lead to a clearer picture of what a Copenhagen agreement might look like.

Scientists say a tougher deal is crucial to avoid the worst of more intense droughts, floods, melting glaciers and rising seas.

The Copenhagen agreement could also give a major push to greening the global economy, boosting investment in renewable energy, expansion of carbon markets and more efficient transport.

De Boer said the United States was a key reason why rich nations’ 2020 emissions targets have not been finalised.

The United States never ratified Kyoto and is not among the 37 industrialised nations committed to emissions targets during Kyoto’s 2008-12 first commitment period. Washington remains outside formal discussions on tougher post-2012 commitments.

"Not knowing what the United States is going to be able to bring to Copenhagen really makes it very difficult for other countries in that Kyoto discussion to increase the level of ambition of their numbers," he said.

John Ashe, a senior diplomat who chairs a key U.N. group negotiating expanded Kyoto commitments, told Reuters in an interview it was unlikely pledged cuts by rich nations would change in Bangkok.

He also said developing nations had not changed any of their demands for tough cuts by rich countries.

He said it was still unclear what limits would be agreed on carbon offsetting by rich nations, such as investing in forest preservation projects in the developing world.

"There will be a cap on offsets. There must be a cap."

"No one is contemplating a situation where targets are met through just pure offsets," he said. (Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)





    • About David

      "I report on climate policy, climate science and the carbon market (CDM, emissions trading) in Asia. I'm based in Singapore. It's a great story in a fast-growing and fast-changing region. I've been writing about climate change since university in Canberra, where I did a life sciences degree, with a communications major on the side. I started writing science articles for newspapers and, soon after completing my studies, joined as a cadet on The Canberra Times. After a few years there, it was off to London and then Hong Kong."
      Joined Reuters:
      1994
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