Climate talks over: What's next?
This month's global climate talks in Poznan, Poland, are history. Negotiators achieved their main objective: Give marching orders to a pair of working groups to develop formal negotiating texts, starting next March in Bonn.Skip to next paragraph
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Oh, yes – and have the texts ready for debate and tweaking at the next global climate conference, scheduled for Copenhagen at the end of next year. Feel free to add extra meetings to the schedule if needed.
This was the two-year timeline set last December in Bali. It's a tall order.
One comment during a final press briefing in Poznan hints at the challenge. Yvo de Boer, executive secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was asked whether, since the two-year allotment for talks under the Bali Road Map is half over, half the work needed to reach the finish line has been achieved.
"No, it hasn't," Mr. de Boer acknowledged. "The last year was a year of exchanging ideas, ... and now we're moving into a full negotiating mode and it's going to be a very heavy agenda. As in any marathon, you need to do the really fast running at the end."
Fast running and some high-hurdling as well. Money for adaptation and to help developing countries pay for green technologies remains a big hurdle. A number of developing countries, including China and India, proposed what in effect would be a tax on two methods for meeting emissions goals under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The levy, which already exists on a third mechanism, would raise an estimated $20 billion between now and 2012 to help developing countries adapt to local effects of global warming.
Former East bloc resistance
Some of the stiffest opposition to the tax came from former East bloc countries – so-called economies in transition. They are the biggest beneficiaries of "joint implementation" projects, one of the two Kyoto mechanisms in question. This program allows one Kyoto country – France, for instance – to get credit against its emission-reduction targets by financing climate-friendly projects in another Kyoto country, such as the Czech Republic.
The beef: A levy on such projects would make them too expensive compared with other Kyoto "flexible mechanisms" for meeting targets – emissions trading and green projects in developing countries.