Hazy beyond Kyoto

Consensus elusive on future climate mitigation strategy

Published: Thursday 30 June 2005

Inconclusive:the conference i global talks for finding a successor to the Kyoto Protocol (kp), the international treaty to fight climate change, made little progress at a un conference held in Bonn on May 16-17, 2005. The seminar was the first step towards planning the course of action after the end of kp's 2012 commitments. Although officially labelled as a mere "informal exchange of information" on measures adopted by signatories to the un Framework Convention on Climate Change (unfccc), it was expected that the meet would pave the way for ministerial talks to be held in Montreal in November-December 2005, during which actual negotiations would begin.

Differences among experts nominated by over 100 governments were apparent right from the beginning. While some wanted a second phase for kp, including national emission targets, others favoured adopting a completely different system of targets, or perhaps no legally binding emission reductions.

Appeal was made to the world's largest polluter, the us , and developing nations to participate in emission reductions when kp expires. India, China and Brazil, which aren't bound by kp to reduce greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions, told rich nations to first meet their own commitments before trying to widen the accord. The us, which has not ratified kp, advocated for 'carbon intensity targets', in which countries reduce their carbon emissions for every dollar of their gross domestic product.

The eu also adopted a cautious approach: its negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger merely gave a presentation on the bloc's climate change programme, including the emissions trading scheme. Observers remarked that though most eu governments back kp, British prime minister Tony Blair may offer an olive branch to the us on climate change when the g 8 group of countries meet to discuss the issue under Blair's chairpersonship in July 2005.

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