The latest round of United Nations talks aimed at reaching an ambitious new treaty on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions wrapped up today in Bonn, Germany, having achieved what the world body’s top climate change official called “important” progress.
“Countries have narrowed gaps in many practical areas, for example on how to strengthen action for adapting to the impacts of climate change,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“This is important progress given the very limited time negotiators have to get to an agreed outcome in Copenhagen in December this year,” Mr. de Boer added, referring to the climate change conference at which countries are expected to adopt an agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period for reducing greenhouse gas emissions ends in 2012.
More than 2,000 delegates from government, business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions, participated in the Bonn meeting, which began on 29 March and is the first of three sessions planned ahead of the Copenhagen conference.
Negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions reductions to be achieved by industrialized countries after 2012 centred on issues related to the scale of the reductions, improvements to emissions trading and the Kyoto Protocol’s carbon offset mechanisms, as well as concerns relating to land-use change and forestry.
“There have been positive discussions on a range of issues, including on technology cooperation between industrialized and developing countries, as well as on the specificities of reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries,” noted Michael Zammit Cutajar, Chair of the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA).
Mr. Cutajar added that countries have the opportunity to provide input to the draft for the negotiating text ahead of the next round of talks in June.
“I invite countries to forward their input to the climate change secretariat by 24 April 2009, so that their views on how to shape the text and what to include in the text can be incorporated,” he said.
Some 192 States have signed on to the UNFCCC, the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which has 184 parties and legally binds 37 highly industrialized nations and countries transitioning to a market economy to limit and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.