‘Limited progress’ made at latest round climate talks, says top UN official

Only “limited progress” has been made at the most recent United Nations climate change talks – which are expected to culminate later this year in Copenhagen with a new pact on slashing greenhouse gas emissions – a senior United Nations official said today.With only two more conferences, totalling 15 days, scheduled before the start of the critical event in the Danish capital, “negotiations will need to considerably pick up speed for the world to achieve a successful result at Copenhagen,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The new treaty set to be agreed on in Denmark in December will replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012.

Some strides were made regarding the negotiating text at the week-long meeting in Bonn, Germany, that wrapped up today, with countries also discussing how to translate mid-term reduction pledges (for the year 2020) by wealthier nations into legally-binding targets as part of the deal to be clinched in Copenhagen.

“Industrialized countries need to show a greater level of ambition in agreeing to meaningful mid-term emission reduction targets,” Mr. de Boer said. “The present level of ambition can be raised domestically and by making use of international cooperation.”

He also called for a “clear indication” from these nations on the levels of financing and technology they will provide to help their developing counterparts ‘green’ their growth and adapt to the impacts of global warming.

The next session of negotiations will start in Bangkok, Thailand, on 28 September, followed by another round in Barcelona, Spain, in November.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has long made climate change a top priority, will convene what is expected to be the largest-ever gathering of heads of State and government on climate change in New York on 22 September. That gathering seeks to build momentum ahead of the Copenhagen talks.