A new global agreement on climate change will be difficult to reach, but still achievable at the upcoming UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December, the head of the UN's climate change body said on Thursday.
"Things really are becoming very urgent," with only 200 days left before the meeting, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York.
But there had also been "encouraging" developments in the past 100 days, starting with a "very clear commitment" of the new U.S. administration to re-engage in international negotiations and put an ambitious domestic policy package in place, he said.
Also, "industrialized countries are finally beginning to give developing countries some credit for actions they are already taking on climate change," he said. "(There has been) A lot of encouraging reporting on China, India, Brazil, South Africa and other developing countries to address climate change."
All in all, he said he was "very encouraged" that climate change remained high on the international agenda despite the financial crisis. "I believe there is still a strong commitment to reach an agreement in Copenhagen at the end of this year."
He expressed the hope that at the meeting clarifications on four issues will be made "at the very least."
First, how much industrialized countries would have reduced their emissions by 2020; second, what developing countries were willing to do to limit the growth of their own emissions.
Those two areas were inextricably linked because the United States and other industrialized nations would not be able to ratify any agreement without corresponding commitments by developing countries, he said.
There should also be agreements on financial support for both adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. "I do not believe developing countries would be willing to address climate change in a much more vigorous way unless there is international support," he said.
And, there is also the need to establish an international governance structure on climate change that would more adequately represent the views of developing countries, he said.
"We are on track in terms of meeting those four requirements as there is a constructive atmosphere in the negotiations. I feel people do want to reach a political agreement in Copenhagen. I hope that will succeed," he added.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2009)