UN Climate Change Meeting Not Going Well

I am not surprsied by any of the reporting from the UN Cliamte Change meeting in Poznan.  Even some of the greatest supporters of global action (eg Germany) are backing away fast from tough commitments in the face of the global financial crunch.  I am hopeful that agreement will be reached but think that some new ideas need to be put on the table to help achieve progress.  Climate change is a global problem and only global action can resolve it.  New Zealand with its 0.2% of global emissions should be putting its efforts into negotiating more effective rules globally than trying to go it alone with an excessively ambitious domestic secheme.  Some way must be found to bring the US, China, India and Brazil into an agreement which sees them too limiting emissions.

This report on the negotiations is from Reuters

POZNAN, Poland, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Recession and the change of U.S. administration make it unlikely the world will meet a 2009 deadline for agreeing a full new pact to fight global warming, delegates at U.N. climate talks say.

A year ago, 190 nations signed up for a two-year push to agree a comprehensive climate treaty at talks in Copenhagen in late 2009. But negotiators and analysts attending preparatory Dec. 1-12 talks in Poznan say that looks out of reach.

The most many now hope for is agreement next year on the principles of a pact, though a few say this is too pessimistic.

“A suitable aspiration and a great achievement (in Copenhagen) would be agreement on the principles for negotiation, not a text,” said Robert Stavins, professor of business and government at Harvard University.

Recession means that developed nations’ greenhouse gas emissions will fall by about 2 percent next year, making other action less urgent, he said.

The 2009 deadline is meant to ensure that new targets for cutting emissions are in place in good time to allow worldwide ratification before the Kyoto Protocol goals expire in 2012.

Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, insisted that rich nations should agree in 2009 to cuts in emissions until 2020. But he also said any deal should be “ratifiable”, leaving much of the fine print for later.

De Boer said suggestions last week by a U.S. think-tank, the Pew Center, that 2009 was too early for President-elect Barack Obama to sign up for formal targets in Copenhagen were “unhelpful and incorrect.”

“Countries launched a negotiation in Bali a year ago and agreed to complete it in a year’s time in Copenhagen,” he told Reuters. “To begin to wobble on that resolve halfway through that process is not helpful.”

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