Climate change treaty negotiations begin

Major international talks have begun in Poland to try to secure agreement on how nations will tackle the threat of climate change.

The two-week UN climate change conference in Poznan, which began on Monday, is picking up where Bali left off (see related story) to try to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Nations will use the time to try to firm up a policy approach before a final deal governing international action on climate change after 2012 is hammered out at Copenhagen, in Denmark, in 2009.

Addressing delegates on the opening day of the conference, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “The conference needs to deliver on on-going issues, especially issues that are important to developing countries.

“And there is huge pressure on available time up to Copenhagen in 2009. So next to on-going work, the conference also needs to lay a solid foundation for an ambitious climate change deal at Copenhagen.”

He called on delegates to “increasingly focus on how the climate change regime could become self-financing and to link climate change policies to economic recovery”.

Ahead of the talks, the EU set out its aims for the negotiations, including agreeing a clear work programme for the 2009 negotiations, and a comprehensive review of how the Kyoto Protocol can be improved and strengthened.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “The financial crisis has underlined the folly or ignoring clear warning signs.

“With climate change we cannot afford to repeat this mistake if we are to prevent dangerous and possibly catastrophic economic and social consequences in the coming decades.

“Even if it is too early to expect major breakthroughs, the Poznan conference must shift gear from exploratory discussions to concrete negotiations and send a clear signal that the world is on track to conclude an ambitious climate treat in Copenhagen a year from now.”

Kate Martin

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