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Roadmap on new climate change regime
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Worldwide efforts on tackling the worsening global warming issue will go into top gear on Monday, with the opening of the 13th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Over 180 countries, represented by some 10,000 delegates, will take part in the conference on Dec. 3-14 in Bali, a resort island of Indonesia.

The main purpose of the meeting is to begin negotiations for a new climate change regime to replace the 1997 Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012.

The meeting comes on the heels of a series of international meetings which highlighted the global climate change problem, and a scientific report of the Nobel-Winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warned that the impact of global warming could be "abrupt or irreversible".

Therefore, the whole world pins high hopes on the Bali meeting and expects breakthrough can be made at the meeting so as to get negotiations going on a new international climate change agreement.

Under the UNFCCC's principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", the developed nations should provide fund and technical support for the developing world in a bid to fight global warming.

At the 15th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Sydney, Australia, Chinese President Hu Jintao also said that in tackling climate change, helping others is helping oneself, and only cooperation can bring about win-win progress. Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UNFCCC has warned that the world would be "in deep trouble" if the Bali meeting fails to make breakthrough.

The international community was fighting against time in a bid to stem global warming, he said.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, who will attend the Bali conference on Dec. 12-14, was quoted as saying that "if we are to meet the challenge of global warming, we need a new and comprehensive agreement that all nations can embrace."

As time is running out, the international community needs to resolve the differences on the issue and committed to a shared vision and long-term common goals and actions to face the challenges posed by global warming.

It is reported that in terms of historical emissions, industrialized countries account for roughly 80 percent of the carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere to date. Based on massive evidence, the IPCC said humans were to blame for rising temperatures. It warned that surging emissions of greenhouse gases, emitted especially by the burning of oil, gas and coal, will warm Earth's atmosphere. Mankind as a result would face wide-ranging miseries such as crop failure, heatwave, rainstorms, drought, floods, cyclones and rising sea levels.

It said all countries will be affected by climate change, especially the poor nations, small island states and developing economies.

Echoing the sounding alarm, climate change is on the top agenda of the G-8 summit in Germany in June, a U.N. climate meeting in New York in September, the APEC meeting in Sydney, the East Asian Summit in Singapore and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda in November.

From Europe to America, from Asia to Africa, the worldwide attention to and awareness about climate change shed lights on hope that the Bali conference may likely produce a roadmap for countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires.

The oust of Australian Prime Minister John Howard in the elections, who is a staunch ally of U.S. President George W. Bush, also raised hope for the supporters of the protocol. They said that the election outcome would put more pressure on the United States as Australian Prime Minister-elect Keven Rudd hopes parliament will ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible.

The United States and Australia have rejected to ratify the Kyoto protocol on the grounds that it did not commit developing countries to the same sort of emissions cuts as industrialized nations.

Although Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, voiced his optimism over a post-Kyoto Protocol roadmap for countries to reduce their global warming emissions, U.N. chief's Special Envoy on Climate Change Han Seung-Soo told Xinhua in an interview that he expected no great breakthrough in the Bali conference.

"I don't expect to solve the climate change problem overnight," he said, adding "but we should at least start the roadmap, drawn by all the participating members for the negotiations."

Martin Parry, co-chair of the IPCC, echoed the same pessimism, saying that the world may have to wait until the Copenhagen summit two years later before governments summon the political will to budget.

"Bali would be the first step towards that," he said.

According to a U.N. report released on Nov. 27, developed nations are failing to meet their targets under the Kyoto protocol climate treaty, for cutting greenhouse gases by 2012.

Despite the scientific progress made in predicting how the Earth's climate will change, and the massive political and public awareness about the urgency of the issue, whether the Bali meeting can produce a post-Kyoto Protocol roadmap remains in doubt. U.N. spokesperson Michele Montas said that it is not expected that representatives will walk away from the meeting with a new global accord to succeed Kyoto. "But the Secretary-General would expect them to agree to an agenda of issues and set a timetable for reaching such an accord, before the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012."

(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2007)


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