UN Global Warming Talks Close In On Aid Agreement (Update1)
2010-12-11 02:36:47.960 GMT
(Adds concern from Bolivia, carbon market from sixth
By Alex Morales and Jim Efstathiou Jr.
Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Envoys at United Nations global
warming talks are closing in on an agreement to protect forests,
stimulate aid to developing nations and establish a body to
advise countries on adapting to higher temperatures.
The proposed package, which must win the backing of
delegates from 193 nations before the meeting ends in Cancun,
Mexico, requires richer countries and poorer ones to set aside
differences about how to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
"The feeling from my delegation is we can get a good
result," Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said
today in an interview.
A UN document suggesting conclusions for the meeting
allowed rich and poor nations to put aside differences about how
to reduce fossil fuel emissions once the current restrictions in
the Kyoto Protocol expire in 2012. While Bolivia said it
objected to "many" parts of the text, observers at the talks
said the compromises outlined may well stick.
"They seem to have solved the Kyoto conundrum," said Tim
Gore, policy adviser for Oxfam. "They seem to have a system
which will give enough confidence to developing countries that
the Kyoto Protocol will move ahead."
Bolivia, which along with six other countries blocked last
year's accord in Copenhagen from being recognized by the UN,
said it wanted delegates to negotiate on its demands for an
international court to police emissions cuts and wording about
the rights of indigenous peoples.
"We won't be blackmailed," Pablo Solon, Bolivia's envoy at
the talks, said at a briefing. "We won't give up to 'take it or
take it' conditions."
The deals suggested in the UN text include:
-- A "Green Climate Fund" that would manage a
"significant share" of the $100 billion pledged last year in
climate aid from richer to poorer nations. The World Bank was
invited to manage the fund.
-- A technology mechanism would be set up to help
developing nations tap low-carbon products such as wind
turbines, solar panels, and energy-saving devices. Further
market mechanisms will be debated at next year's conference in
Durban, South Africa.
-- A forest protection program known as Reducing Emissions
from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD. It would
fund forestry projects for developing nations. A mention of the
programs tapping carbon markets was dropped from the UN draft
-- A "Cancun Adaptation Framework" which would help
assess the needs of the most vulnerable nations to adapt to the
effects of higher temperatures such as rising sea levels,
increased droughts and melting glaciers.
-- A package of details on how to monitor, report and
verify emissions reductions by developed countries and climate
protection actions taken by poorer ones, or MRV in UN jargon.
"These drafts represent real and very substantive
progress," Patricia Espinosa, the Mexican foreign secretary who
is leading the talks, told delegates who gave her a standing
ovation for her efforts. "Every view has been taken into
account. Each of you will have to live with the consequences of
our choices and of our actions."
The text did not outline tighter emission targets from any
nation, referring instead to figures that will be published
later covering cuts from industrial and developing nations.
The lack of an extension or a replacement for the 1997
Kyoto Protocol may boost the cost of fighting climate change,
said David Hone, chairman of the International Emissions Trading
Association, a Geneva-based lobby group,
"If there is no international cohesiveness, it makes it
more difficult for a responsive market-based approach to
develop," said Hone, also Royal Dutch Shell Plc's climate
adviser. "This ultimately leads to a higher-cost solution for
everyone," he said in a phone interview from London.
After last year's push for a legally binding agreement to
limit emissions collapsed in Copenhagen, the UN scaled back
ambitions. Disputes over how to reduce greenhouse gases may
still kill the package sketched out by the UN.
China, India, Brazil and South Africa this week pressed
industrial nations to agree to new restrictions on fossil fuel
emissions after current ones in the 1997 Kyoto agreement finish.
Japan, Canada and Russia refused, saying the accord excludes the
world's two biggest polluters, the U.S. and China.
Praise from Japan
"This is a good paper, and a good basis for moving
forward," Kuni Shimada, the Japanese envoy, said in an
interview, praising the work of the Mexican foreign minister.
"She could have closed the meeting with it and that would be
the happy ending. She deserved her standing ovation."
The UN text suggests the world keep temperature gains below
2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and consider whether
to make the pledge 1.5 degrees. Current emissions reduction
pledges could lead temperatures to rise up to 5 degrees by 2100,
the UN Environment Program said Nov. 23.
"I'm really disappointed, because we're toying around the
edges," Bharrat Jagdeo, president of Guyana, said in an
interview yesterday. "Positions are watered down. The
greenhouse gases are being pumped into the atmosphere."
Last year, Bolivia joined Venezuela, Sudan, Cuba, Nicaragua
and Tuvalu in blocking the Copenhagen Accord, an agreement
brokered by about 30 leaders, including U.S. President Barack
Obama and China's Premier Wen Jiabao, from being adopted as a
formal UN text.
"There's more work to do, but we're willing to accept a
compromise," Quamrul Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi envoy, said today
in an interview.
Concern About Process
A failure in Cancun to reach agreement may lead to a loss
of confidence in the UN-led international effort to curb global
warming. A dispute about the future of the Kyoto Protocol, which
set out the world's first program of emissions limits, marred
the two weeks of talks. Christiana Figueres, the UN diplomat
leading the discussions, said countries were so far apart that a
solution wasn't on the agenda for this meeting.
"Kyoto is the lynchpin," Alden Meyer, who has attended
the UN talks for the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists
for more than a decade, said in an interview. "If the message
out of here is that Kyoto is dead or on life support with no
chance of resuscitation then the developing countries will block
anything going forward that the U.S. needs for a new treaty."
A draft text covering possible extension of the Kyoto
treaty notes that developed countries would need to cut combined
emissions in the range of 25 percent to 40 percent below 1990
levels by 2020. Targets for the first commitment period, from
2008 through 2012, seek to cut developed country emissions by
5.2 percent from 1990 levels.
Pledges made by industrialized nations under the non-
binding Copenhagen Accord range from a 7 to 14 percent
reduction, according to Greenpeace.
The UN paper says countries will move as soon as possible
to ensure there is no gap between the Kyoto treaty's first
commitment period expiring in 2012 and a new round of cuts.
In its draft text, the UN kept open the prospect that there
will be a new set of emissions targets under the Kyoto. The
paper suggests "further work" will need to be done to work out
pledges for reductions in the future. The paper preserves both
developing countries insistence to keep alive Kyoto and the
refusal of Japan and Russia to extend commitments.
A Cancun agreement needs to be "building blocks for a new
universal agreement," Alexander Frolov, deputy head of the
Russian delegation, said today in an interview in Cancun.
"There's not any sense to just continue because only a few
limited countries have obligations."
For Related News and Information:
Emission trading stories: TNI ENVMARKET CLIMATE <GO>
Top environment and renewable energy stories: GREEN <GO>
Stories about the climate talks: NSE CLIMATE CANCUN <GO>
--With additional assistance from Carlos Manuel Rodriguez,
Mathew Carr and Kim Chipman in Cancun. Editors: Reed
Landberg, Paul Tighe
To contact the reporters on this story:
Alex Morales in Cancun, Mexico, at +44-20-7330-7718 or
Jim Efstathiou Jr. in New York at +1-212-617-1647 or
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at +44-20-7330-7862 or