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UNFCCC executive secretary calls for action to battle climate change

(Xinhua)

08:35, May 15, 2012

BONN, Germany, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The executive secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Monday called for efforts to turn political decisions into action to address the climate change as a new round of climate change talks kicked off here.

"Durban was a turning point, where governments agreed on tasks and timelines that give the best chance of avoiding the worst of future climate change. We now need to maintain the momentum, to constantly keep turning political decisions into action," said Christiana Figueres.

It is the first time that governments have gathered for a formal meeting on climate change after the Durban conference in November 2011.

During the Bonn conference that is scheduled to last nearly two weeks, governments are going to assess all of the agreements and results from Durban. They will also implement the concrete tasks and agreements that they came to in Durban and Cancun, Figueres said at a news conference.

"The future work that they have ahead of them is very important, because, as has been pointed out repeatedly by science, we still have a gap remaining between intent and effort," she said.

Assessment from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) showed that bridging the gap is both technically attainable and economically feasible, said Figueres.

"What is necessary in order to be able to bridge the gap is much stronger emission reductions, in particular from the industrialized countries who need to continue leading this process but also a stronger level of ambition from all countries and a stronger level of ambition to support in particular developing country action," she said.

Five bodies are going to hold meetings during the conference in Bonn. Governments will be preparing the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which must be adopted in Doha, Figueres said.

"In order to do that, they need to agree on the length of the second commitment period that will start on Jan. 1, 2013," she added.

The conference also includes timely agreement on the length of the second commitment period of the Protocol, which is five or eight years, and how to convert Protocol targets into quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives.

Governments will begin to plan a new negotiation to shape a universal, legal climate agreement, which is to be completed by 2015 and to enter into force from 2020. They will discuss how to raise global ambition before 2020.

Figueres said the beginning of a new process in Bonn is both exciting and challenging.

"I think we need to temper our excitement also with realism and encourage not only governments to really commit themselves to this very difficult task but also reach out to other stakeholders, the private sectors, the civil society, the finance sector to help governments gain the comfort and momentum they need to move forward on this," said Figueres.

The Bonn UN Climate Change Conference will run from May 14 to 25 and will be attended by around 3,000 participants from 181 countries, including government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions.

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