"Time is not just pressing. It has almost run out"

Yvo de Boer,
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

"Time is not just pressing. It has almost run out," de Boer said in Monday's opening address to the 1,500 delegates from about 190 countries attending the Bangkok meeting.

Nonetheless, he said, "in two weeks real progress can be made toward the goals that world leaders have set for the negotiations to break deadlocks and to cooperate towards concrete progress."

The Bangkok talks are the last major negotiating round before a gathering in Copenhagen in December that the UN has set as a deadline to seal a broad agreement on a pact to expand and replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Time for action

De Boer's comments were backed up by Connie Hedegaard, Denmark's minister of climate change and energy, who told delegates it was time to deliver a workable agreement.

"We've talked for long enough, the world expects action," she said.

Delegates have been told that the fate of future generations is in their hands [AFP]
The two weeks of talks have been tasked with finalising a draft legal text of a pact that would replace Kyoto.

At present the main text, running to about 180 pages is filled with blanks, options and alternative wording options.

"We must have a text that is operational, understandable and suitable for the further work, a text that spells out clear political options," Hedegaard said.

"This is currently not the case."

Pointing to progress at last week's UN climate change summit in New York, de Boer said there were five fundamental elements that had to be part of an agreement for the Copenhagen talks.

These include measure to help the most vulnerable nations adapt to the impact of climate change, as well as tougher emissions targets for rich nations.

Another element, he said, was an agreement on funding distribution to help poorer countries cut their emissions.

"The Bangkok talks must end in an evident spirit of cooperation and with evident progress," he said.

"The political winds are behind you, de Boer said, urging delegates to "pull up
anchor and make full sail before we lose the tide and are left stranded on the beach, exposed to the coming storms".