Interview: Danish minister says too early to talk about final result at Cancun

13:43, December 05, 2010      

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It is still too early to write off the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16), currently underway in Cancun, because revised drafts will not be circulated to the ministers until next Tuesday, Danish Minister for Energy and Climate Change Lykke Friis said on Saturday.

"It is difficult to say what the final result will be," Friis told Xinhua in an exclusive interview. "Like in any negotiation positioning is taking place ahead of the end game."

Friis also believed it is "very premature" on day six of the Cancun conference to start speaking about what may happen in South Africa.

"If we do not make some sort of deal in Cancun then many actors will start to question the value of the international framework," she explained.

South Africa is set to host next year's COP17. Denmark hosted the last edition. The three nations have formed a troika that has been steering the talks since COP15 in Copenhagen.

"The litmus test will be next week when ministers start to look at the text," Friis said. "Until then we must focus on creating the best possible starting point."

On Friday, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that several possible revisions to the text had been circulated in the ad hoc Working Group talks that precede the full formal talks. The structure triggered rumors that Mexico might be trying to force the participants to agree on a deal whose terms were being kept secret until the last minute.

"There will always be debates about whether negotiations are being done in a transparent way," Friis said. "At the creation stage one has to be a deal maker. Anyone who acts as a broker runs the risk of being called non-transparent. But Mexico has done a very good job in creating confidence."

Denmark and many other participants are meeting with other governments seeking bilateral deals and with cities and regions seeking other kinds of deals that might help, Friis said, adding that this cannot substitute for reaching a broad global deal.

"It is still vital that we get a global framework, that we can deepen and expand," Friis said. "The targets that we have right now are not enough to get us to the two-degree limit."

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said at a Thursday press conference that the promises taken on at Copenhagen 's COP15 fall around five gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent ( Gte) short of what is needed to keep global warming under the two degrees Celsius limit. The limit is widely accepted by scientists as crucial for preventing the most serious environmental catastrophes.

The UNEP said that world emission will be around 56 Gte in 2020, when it needs to be below 44 Gte in order to keep within the two- degree limit. If all of Copenhagen's agreements are implemented under the strictest terms possible, emissions will remain around 49 Gte.

Source: Xinhua


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