Latest UN climate text under fire

Developing states say Bonn draft emphasises greenhouse-gas curbs on the poor, not the rich.

    Al Jazeera's Tim Friend reports on the small moves made in Bonn towards a climate agreement

    Rich and poor nations alike have criticised a new blueprint for a UN climate treaty as two weeks of talks in Bonn among 185 countries ended with small steps towards an elusive deal.

    A streamlined climate draft, meant to help talks on a new pact, cut out some of the most draconian options for greenhouse gas and dropped all references to "Copenhagen," where a UN summit in December fell short of agreeing a treaty.

    Several members of the the Group of 77 developing nations said the 22-page text wrongly put emphasis on greenhouse gas curbs by the poor, not the rich.

    "The group is dismayed that the ... text is unbalanced,"  the bloc said in a statement.

    'Unacceptable' elements

    The talks were the mid-way point to the next big gathering of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, taking place in the Mexican resort of Cancun from November 29 to December 10.

    Among rich nations, the United States said it would study the draft but that some elements were "unacceptable".

    The European Union also expressed "concerns" about the text, which updates a previous 42-page draft rejected last week.

    The new text outlines a goal of cutting world emissions of greenhouse gases by "at least 50 to 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050" and for developed nations to reduce emissions by at least 80 to 95 per cent from 1990 levels by mid-century.

    It drops far more radical options, some championed by Bolivia, for a cut of at least 95 per cent in world emissions by 2050 as part of a fight to slow droughts, floods, a spread of disease and rising sea levels.

    Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe of Zimbabwe, who chaired the talks, said the text would be updated for a next meeting in Bonn in August.

    Yvo de Boer, the departing head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, said he felt the main reaction to the text was that, "yes, it has shortcomings ...but that people are willing to take it as the basis for future work".

    Many delegates say that a new legally binding deal is out of reach for 2010 and now more likely in 2011.

    Apart from deep splits over negotiating texts, US legislation on cutting emissions is stalled in the senate.

    'Important progress'

    The May 31 to June 11 session in Germany was the biggest since Copenhagen, where more than 120 nations agreed a non-binding deal to limit a rise in average world temperatures to below two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times.

    But it lacked details of how to reach this goal.

    Discussing Bonn, de Boer said: "This session has made important progress ... countries have been talking to each other rather than at each other."

    He said an extra meeting of negotiators was likely in China before the annual meeting in Cancun.

    The new draft text keeps some elements of the Copenhagen Accord, including a plan for aid to developing nations of $10bn a year from 2010 to 2012, rising to more than $100bn from 2020.

    Commenting on the draft, Kaisa Kosonen of Greenpeace said: "Everyone will find something they like, as well as something they hate."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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