There is a general sense that the United Nations Climate Change
Conference in Bali is on track after a busy week of talks. However,
there are still many differences that need to be resolved before
the arrival of Ministers attending the High-Level segment which
begins on Wednesday.
The conference, which opened on Dec. 3, went into a recess on
Sunday as thousands of delegates took the day off to refresh
themselves before embarking on the second week of discussions.
A protester holds a
banner during a demonstration against climate change in central
London on Saturday. The protest coincided with UN climate talks in
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will deliver a
statement at the opening of the High-Level segment on Wednesday and
the segment is due to end on Friday. During these last three days
of the conference, Environment Ministers will seek to reach
agreement on the shape of a future international climate pact, the
so-called "Bali roadmap."
Before wrapping up what he described as a busy week of talks,
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer on Saturday spoke of a
"strong willingness" by Parties to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for an outcome at the
conference, which has attracted more than 10,000 participants,
including delegates, NGOs, international organizations and the
Yvo de Boer explained that the two-week conference needs to
deliver on ongoing issues of particular importance to developing
countries. This means moving forward on adaptation, transfer of
technology and deforestation, as well as strengthening
capacity-building. What the conference also needs to do is to
launch a process on action beyond 2012, when the first commitment
period of the Kyoto Protocol ends.
Yvo de Boer reiterated that no final deal on a future climate
regime will be concluded at Bali, and that the goal is to launch
negotiations, set an agenda on the main building blocks of a future
agreement and set an end date for conclusion of the
On the issue of emission reduction targets, Yvo de Boer said
that the range of 25-40 percent for industrialized countries by
2020, agreed by Kyoto Parties earlier this year, would also be "an
important reference frame for these discussions."
He went on to explain three diverging views among Parties on the
issue of targets. While some countries are calling for legally
binding targets for developing countries, others are calling for
developing nations to limit growth in emissions if incentives are
put in place for them to do so. The third discussion revolves
around whether industrialized countries should take on
internationally legally binding targets, or targets at the national
Yvo de Boer expressed the hope that this whole discussion would
be taken up only at the end of the two-year debate, since countries
needed to be clear first on the instruments they will have at their
disposal to act on mitigation of climate change and adaptation to
it. Only then would the foundations be laid for adopting ambitious
targets that "make sense."
The first negotiating text that captures the different proposals
which have been made to date was tabled Saturday and will be
discussed on Monday, prior to the arrival of Ministers attending
the High-Level segment.
Costs for both mitigation and adaptation to climate change are
set to rise. A recent publication by the U.N. Climate Change
secretariat on Investment and Financial Flows puts financing the
response to climate change at 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent of GDP
in2030, and 1.1-1.7 percent of total global investment in the same
Yvo de Boer said Friday that current funds under the Convention
and the Protocol are insufficient to meet these goals, but that the
gap can be bridged by scaling up currently available international
capital dedicated to climate-friendly investments. The challenge is
"huge, but not insurmountable," he said.
environmental activists gather to form the shape of the Earth in
Kuta beach, Bali island December 9, 2007.
Of particular interest to developing countries are discussions
on technology transfer. Developing countries see several barriers
to technology transfer -- the major ones being intellectual
property rights (IPR) and finances.
"Tech transfer must be facilitated within a specified framework
that is time bound and can be monitored for effective
implementation," said the Group of 77 on behalf of developing
countries in a statement on Saturday.
As negotiations will pick up momentum in the second week, the
Bali conference is in full swing for a breakthrough in the form of
a roadmap for enhanced global action to fight climate change in the
period after 2012.
(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2007)