UN talks aim to thrash out tough details on climate

The UN climate talks will focus on global pact that has offered hope in the fight against global warming.

Updated: Apr 03, 2011, 11:13 AM IST

Bangkok: The first UN climate talks of the
year will be held in Bangkok this week, with negotiators
looking to hammer out tough details of a global pact that has
offered hope in the fight against global warming.

The six days of talks, which begin today with informal
workshops, are being held as the world`s energy problems are
in sharp focus amid Japan`s nuclear power crisis and with oil
prices hovering near record highs.

Negotiators will be seeking to build on an accord reached
in the Mexican resort of Cancun in December last year that
infused cautious optimism into the often tortuous UN process
aimed at tackling climate change.

"The world was at a crossroads in Cancun and took a step
forward towards a climate-safe world," the UN`s climate chief,
Christiana Figueres, said ahead of this week`s talks, which
formally begin on Tuesday.

"Now governments must move purposefully down the path
they have set, and that means maintaining momentum at
Bangkok."

Figueres said a key goal of the talks was to set out a
workplan for the year so that countries could arrive in South
Africa for the UN`s annual climate summit in November able to
make concrete and substantial agreements.

Under the Cancun accord, more than 190 countries called
for "urgent action" to keep temperatures from rising no more
than two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial
levels.

To do so they pledged to seek "deep cuts" in greenhouse
gas emissions, which are mainly created by using fossil fuels
for energy and the clearing of carbon-rich rainforests.

In a big step towards rebuilding trust between developed
and developing countries, a so-called Green Climate Fund was
also established in Cancun.

If all goes to plan, the fund will by 2020 funnel USD 100
billion to developing countries each year to help them cope
with climate change.

But, as with most elements of the Cancun accord, only the
over-arching principles have been agreed upon and the tough
negotiations on detail will now begin in Bangkok.

On the climate fund issue, one of the most obvious
problems is that no-one has yet come up with a way of sourcing
the money.

"In Bangkok, negotiators must begin to discuss how to tap
innovative sources of funding to meet these critical needs,"
Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy with the US-based
Union of Concerned Scientists, told AFP.

Other major issues such as how the funds will be spent,
by whom and how they will be accounted for -- also need to be
determined.

PTI