Climate change negotiations to pick up in Bangkok

Government delegates meeting in Bangkok, Thailand embarked Monday on the penultimate round of climate change negotiations ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, at which a comprehensive international climate change deal is to be sealed. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva opened the two-week meeting.

The Bangkok Climate Change talks were preceded by the UN Climate Change Summit in New York on 22 September, convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, at which around 100 heads of state and government clearly called for a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen.

Addressing government delegates in Bangkok, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said: “The Summit was able to renew our collective engagement on the issue of climate change at the very highest levels. So I hope that the political will and vision expressed by all leaders in New York will now guide you, as negotiators and concerned national officials, on the road to Copenhagen.”

“There is no plan B,’ he added. “If we do not realize plan A, we go straight to plan F, which stands for failure.”

Leaders at the New York Summit called for a climate change deal in December that ensures enhanced action to assist the most vulnerable and the poorest to adapt to the impacts of climate change. They also stressed that ambitious emission reduction targets are required for industrialised countries, as well as the need for nationally-appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries with the necessary support. Furthermore,
they reiterated that significantly scaled-up financial and technological resources and an equitable governance structure are required.

Whilst negotiations are expected to focus on the five elements world leaders subscribed to in New York, areas in which some progress had been made at previous UNFCCC negotiating sessions and in which progress can be extended include: adaptation action, REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries), technology, capacity building, and institutional arrangements for finance.

A key focus will be on obtaining clarity on further emission reduction commitments for industrialised countries. Important technical work under the Kyoto Protocol will be taken forward on issues such as Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry, identifying new greenhouse gases to be included in the Copenhagen agreed outcome and defining base years for emission cuts. Furthermore, countries will continue to discuss which
mechanisms can be deployed to raise the level of ambition of industrialised countries. They will also assess the impacts emission cuts will have on developed and developing economies.

The gathering from 28 September to 9 October is being attended by more than 4,000 participants, including government delegates from 177 countries, representatives from business and industry, environmental organisations and research institutions. The Bangkok meeting will be followed by a final five days of pre-Copenhagen negotiations in Barcelona in November.

About the UNFCCC

With 192 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has to date 184 member Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate 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.

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