Vultures circle over U.N. climate talks

August 26, 2008

vulture.jpgDozens of vultures landed on the grass the other day outside the building where U.N. climate talks are taking place in Ghana – and more were circling overhead.

“They’ve been attracted by all the delegates falling asleep inside,” one official joked.

(I missed those vultures, but when I tried to get a picture of a group on the grass to try to illustrate this blog they flapped off before I was close enough … The picture on the left is of a vulture in Spain).

The Aug. 21-27 talks among 160 countries working on a new treaty to fight climate change moved at a glacial pace even though the United Nations said they were making progress, for instance, in defining how to give tropical countries incentives to slow deforestation. Burning trees is a big source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Getting countries from Albania to Zimbabwe to agree to a new treaty to fight climate change by the end of 2009 as planned is clearly going to be a gigantic jigsaw, but some things could be simplified.

Many governments say fighting climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world, so why not design talks with a bit more built-in urgency?

– How about starting meetings on time? Sessions now start like clockwork — between 15 and 25 minutes after the appointed time.

– Speakers often feel obliged to spend half a minute or more praising the chairman, the host country, donors etc for arranging the talks before they get to the point. Why not streamline the formalities?

Any other ideas?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

The UN is a waste of the worlds time and money!!!!

Posted by roy | Report as abusive

Global warming is the greatest hoax since Gee UU Bush invaded Iraq. You only have to listen to respected scientists and look at the facts and forget a journalists (once upon a time) articles. This has become a great money spinner for research people to get a grant.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive