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 user 2007-12-04 at 11:17:00 am Views: 36
  • #21054

    Key climate summit opens in Bali
    at a key UN climate summit will discuss how to reduce greenhouse gas
    emissions after the current Kyoto Protocol targets expire in 2012.It is
    the first such meeting since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
    Change (IPCC) warned that evidence for global warming was
    “unequivocal”.The two-week gathering in Bali, Indonesia, will also
    debate how to help poor nations cope in a warming world.The annual
    high-level meeting, organised by the UN Framework Convention on Climate
    Change (UNFCCC), is under pressure to deliver a new global agreement on
    how to cut rising greenhouse gas emissions.Rachmat Witoelar, the
    Indonesian environment minister who was named president of the
    conference, pledged to do his best to deliver a deal.
    protection must form an integral part of sustainable economic
    development, and it is critical that we act and we act now,” he
    said.UNFCCC Executive Director Yvo de Boer urged the international
    community to use the summit to take “concrete steps” towards curbing
    climate change.”We urgently need to take increased action, given
    climate change predictions and the corresponding global adaptation
    needs,” he said in his welcome message to delegates.”In the context of
    climate change, projections of economic growth and increases in energy
    demand over the next 20 years, especially in developing countries,
    point to the urgent need to green these trends.Earlier this year, the
    IPCC published its Fourth Assessment Report (A4R), in which it
    projected that the world would warm by 1.8-4.0C (3.2-7.2F) over the
    next century.Mr de Boer added that the IPCC’s conclusion that climate
    change was “very likely” the result of human activity ended any doubt
    over the need to act.

    Climate for consensus?
    the top of the conference’s agenda is the need to reach a consensus on
    how to curb emissions beyond 2012.This marks the end of the current
    phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which commits industrialised nations to
    cutting greenhouse gas emissions by an average of about 5% from 1990
    levels.Critics of the existing framework say binding targets do not
    work, and favour technological advances instead.Recent studies show
    that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are rising faster than
    they were a decade ago.Meanwhile, US President George Bush – who
    favours voluntary rather than mandatory targets – issued a statement
    saying that the nation’s emissions had fallen by 1.5% in 2006 from
    levels in 2005.Mr Bush used the reduction as an endorsement of his
    climate policy, saying: “Our guiding principle is clear: we must lead
    the world to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.”We must do it in a
    way that does not undermine economic growth or prevent nations from
    delivering greater prosperity for their people.”However, the European
    Union backs the use of binding targets. The 27-nation bloc has already
    committed itself to cut emissions by 20% by 2020.A number of observers
    believe the difference between the two economic powerhouses will result
    in the Bali conference failing to deliver a policy roadmap for “Kyoto

    Softening the blow
    conference is also scheduled to consider how to fund projects that will
    help developing nations deal with the impact of climate change.Ahead of
    the climate conference, another UN agency published a report
    criticising global efforts to date.The UN Development Programme’s
    annual Human Development Report said funding currently amounted to $26m
    (£13m), roughly the same amount as the UK spent on its flood defences
    in a week.”Nobody wants to understate the very real long-term
    ecological challenges that climate change will bring to rich
    countries,” said lead author Kevin Watkins.”But the near-term
    vulnerabilities are not concentrated in lower Manhattan and London, but
    in flood-prone areas of Bangladesh and drought-prone parts of
    sub-Saharan Africa.”Allowing the window of opportunity to close would
    represent a moral and political failure without precedent in human