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Bangkok Talks: A Summary of the Negotiations

Posted by NYCA Blogger on October 11, 2009

 The Bangkok talks started after leaders expressed firm support of taking action on climate change at the high level climate change summit in New York. This raised the expectations of a major breakthrough in Bangkok. One of the primary tasks at hand was to streamline the negotiating text that had been compiled so far and make it more manageable. The 181 page document was a challenge to streamline and consolidate as new elements were introduced and existing ones were elaborated. Major progress was made on technology transfer and development, capacity building and REDD plus. However, major fissures emerged in the areas known to be controversial like mitigation and adaptation. Consensus looks very distant for financing adaptation in developing countries.

Developing countries have been arguing that any agreement must be in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and actions based on capacity. They have posited that the creation of national schedules for mitigation, proposed by the Australians, blurs the distinction between developed and developing countries. Though Norway agreed to cut emissions by 40% to 1990 levels, exactly what fraction of this emission reduction will take place internally is not known. The Annex 1 countries, in the Kyoto track, have been lobbying for a much more expanded role of carbon markets. As targets have not been ambitious, developing countries have balked at the idea of using offsets to meet weak domestic obligations.
The US and EU have been trying to bring the two negotiation tracks under one agreement. Though this would bring the UN on board, countries like China and India have vehemently opposed any such attempt as they argue the new agreement will not be ambitious enough to tackle climate change.

The major achievement of Bangkok was the clear delineation of boundaries. Though this will make negotiations more manageable as the dividing lines are easier to see, leaders must bring enough political capital with them to make sure there is a fair deal in Copenhagen.

Look out for a more personal take on the talks soon.


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