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UN forum struggles after Copenhagen setback

Last Updated: Friday, April 9, 2010 - 20:15

Bonn: Hopes of hoisting the UN process
for tackling climate change out of the mire after December`s
flawed Copenhagen summit suffered early setbacks at talks Friday.

In the first parley since the stormy December
meeting, no immediate consensus emerged among the 194 parties
to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for
plotting the way forward and the mood was soured by
fresh finger-pointing.

"The one thing we learn from history is that we
never learn from history," said Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of the
Democratic Republic of Congo, representing African nations.

Copenhagen damaged "the trust that is necessary for
any partnership," he said.

The three-day gathering in the former German
capital takes place nearly four months after a summit that,
after being billed as the moment when mankind would rally to
fight climate change, came within an inch of catastrophe.

Attended by some 120 heads of state and government,
the summit was saved from fiasco after a couple of dozen
leaders cobbled together a brief document outlining areas of

Their "Copenhagen Accord" sets down a general goal
of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees
Fahrenheit), unites rich and poor countries behind pledges for
tackling greenhouse gases that cause the problem and earmarks
nearly USD 30 billion in aid from 2010-2012, with a prospect
of up to USD 100 billion annually by 2020.

Critics say the emissions pledges, at present
levels, would ensure warming of four C (7.2 F) or more and in
any case are only voluntary.

Others have denounced the accord as a stitch-up
between an elite group of countries; more than a third of
UNFCCC parties have still not endorsed the deal.

In the quest to revive the UN process in time for
the next big UNFCCC meeting, due in the Mexican resort of
Cancun in November and December, many countries today endorsed
ideas for speeding the laborious, consensus-driven
negotiation process.

These include setting up a "contact group" of
several dozen countries that would haggle over core issues,
then submit the outcome to a plenary for its approval.

"We cannot go back to business as usual," said a
Spanish delegate, speaking for the European Union (EU).

"We need to improve our working methods," said
Fernando Tudela of Mexico, a vice minister for planning and
environmental policy.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, April 9, 2010 - 20:15

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