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Climate Talks Must Stick to Principles: Bonn, Germany

Posted by NYCA Blogger on June 14, 2009

The second round of UN climate talks concluded on Friday in Bonn, Germany with limited progress. The climate

seemed to have become warmer but the talks cooler during the 12 days of negotiations.

It is of vital significance to adhere to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” due to the complexity of the talks.

Negotiators were expected to craft a new UN climate treaty to be signed in Copenhagen this December to replace the Kyoto Protocol that will expire in 2012.

During the June 1-12 talks, negotiators expanded an initial draft text of about 50 pages to more than 200 pages, but many contained competing ideas.

The targets of developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions discussed at Bonn were still “far away” from the 25 percent to 40 percent cuts by 2020 recommended by scientists.

During the talks, developed countries also did not respond to the suggestion of providing funds and transferring environmental technologies to the developing countries, two top issues of concern to developing countries. In addition, the developed countries tried to shift their responsibilities by setting emission quotas for developing ones.

The disputes show that developed countries are trying to avoid the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility.”

According to the principle, developed and developing states have different duties and there is a basic difference between compulsive emission cuts for developed countries and voluntary emission targets of the developing ones.

It is estimated that 75 percent of greenhouse emissions come from developed countries. As for the accumulated average per capita emission, developing countries only represent 24 percent of that of developed ones.

A UN report said that the severe consequence of climate change can only be avoided if developed countries cut their emissions by some 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020 compared with the level in 1990.

Developing countries cannot achieve fair progress if the developed ones shift their responsibilities and impose compulsory emission cuts on the latter.

The political will of developed countries, which showed little sincerity at this round of talks to shoulder their responsibilities, will become a critical factor for the success of the next round of climate talks.

In future talks, all concerned parties should adhere to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” and push negotiations forward according to the “Bali Road Map” via collective discussions to deal with the issues of emission cuts, technology and funds in a balanced way with the participation of developing countries.

The climate talks can only achieve tangible progress when the rights of developing countries are faithfully safeguarded.



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