Climate deal falls short (2)

08:37, December 21, 2009      

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A legally binding agreement, succeeding the first phase of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and requiring further emissions cuts by richer nations, was the goal in Bali, Indonesia, in 2007 when the annual UN conference set a two-year timetable leading to Copenhagen.

Under the "Copenhagen Accord," a first deadline is for backers to submit plans for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions by January 31, 2010, to the UN.

Reuters warned Monday that the world will find it hard to get UN-led climate talks back on track in Mexico after the deal agreed in Copenhagen set no firm deadline for a legally binding treaty.

Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, said the outcome is disappointing but not surprising, as carbon-emissions reduction is, in essence, a development issue that involves redistribution of resources, depending on the economic growth patterns of all countries and people's lifestyles.

For at least the next several years, the lack of a binding treaty may result in a piecemeal response to climate change, with action being taken largely on a national and regional level, the Washing-ton Post said Monday.

Carbon emissions have increased an average of 2 to 3 percent a year in the past decade. Even if countries live up to their commitments on reductions, a gap remains between the nations' combined pledges and what would be required to avert the risks of disruptive changes in rainfall and drought, ecosystems and polar-ice cover from global warming, scientists say.

The New York Times commented Monday that the current approach to tackling the threat of a warming planet "has become unworkable," and coordinating international efforts to reduce emissions could occur with a much smaller group of nations, roughly 30 countries responsible for 90 percent of global-warming emissions.

"This smaller group of nations will meet periodically to tackle a narrower agenda, such as technology sharing or the merging of carbon-trading markets, without the chaos and posturing of the UN process," it suggested.

Pang Jun, however, said that there is no better platform for multi-lateral consultations over climate change than the existing talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), although the current mechanism may not be ideal or the most effective way.

China's position is that the UNFCCC should remain as the main platform for climate-change talks, while negotiation on other occasions could serve as a supplement, not a replacement, Pang added.

Source: Global Times
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