Blog about UN Climate Change Conference in Bali 3-14 December 2007 and other related issues

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Developing nations to act on climate change: UN

The politics of climate change has dominated the election campaign this week, with the debate focusing on whether developing countries should have to make commitments before Australia signs up to a new climate change agreement.

But a United Nations (UN) spokesman has told ABC Radio's AM program he is confident that developing nations will agree to get on board at the climate change meeting in Bali at the end of the year.

John Hay, the spokesman for the UN Convention on Climate Change Secretariat based in Bonn in Germany, says developing nations are ready to begin serious negotiations in Bali.

"What we expect they will be bringing is a commitment, basically," he said.

"A commitment to be engaged and a commitment to be part of a post-2012 climate change regime. And we're already seeing very good indications that this will happen."

Mr Hay says the Bali meeting will not establish a treaty with new binding targets, but will merely launch negotiations for a deal to be finalised by 2009.

He says it is likely poorer nations will commit to different types of action, such as lower targets.

"What we can expect is that countries not only look at the options of absolute targets, but also bringing, for example, parts of their economies under targets, that countries agree to finding the best solution which just fits their particular needs," he said.

"But what is quite clear is that industrialised countries must take the lead."

China, India not the villains

Greenpeace International spokesman Bill Hare has been to the UN climate change conferences every year since 1992 and says it is countries such as Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Singapore, and not China and India, that need to adopt targets.

"South Korea at one end is classified as a developing country, but it surely must take on similar targets as countries like Australia or New Zealand ultimately," he said.

"On the other hand, India is still very poor and in no way could be expected to take on binding national emission limits at this point."

The Government accused Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd of a policy backflip this week, after he said a commitment by developing countries in the second phase of Kyoto was a pre-condition for Australia signing up.

But Mr Hare says the Coalition's stance has also changed.

"For the first time it said in New York in September that developing countries may not have to take the same kind of binding emission obligations as industrialised countries," he said.

"Of course no-one actually believes that will mean anything internationally because the Howard Government has got such a bad reputation internationally."

Meanwhile, Mr Hay warns there is a closing window of opportunity to get a new climate change deal.

"If negotiations are not launched this year in Bali, there is a very big danger of the climate change process, I would almost say, dissolving," he said.
source: ABC news

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