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Daily Archives: December 4, 2007

Climate change conference open on Lndonesia’s Bali

Image   Amajor  UN-sponsored  climate change conference opened on In-donesia¡¦s  Bali  yesterday,  tasked with crafting a road map for negotiations leading to a new pact for addressing glob-al warming.

 The 11-day conference, held under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and attended by more than  180  nations,  comes  as  evidence mounts of the havoc rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns are set to wreak on world ecosystems and humankind.Under the new pact, industrialised coun-tries will be pressed to massively reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases from the end of 2012, when the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires.Indonesia¡¦s  environment  minister  and the new president of the convention, Ra-chmat Witoelar, told the opening summit session that there was a building momen-tum for an agreement to be hammered out here.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Kev-in Rudd said yesterday he had ratified the Kyoto Proctocol on climate change in his first diffical act after being sworn in as leader.

The Lbor party leader said ratification of  the  United  Nation¡¦s  treaty  on  com-bating global warming was approved by  the first meeting of the government 's ex- ecutive council and later by the governorgeneral.

Under United Nations guidelines, rati-fication of thr document will enter into force in 90 days meaning Australia will
be a full member of the Kyoto Protocol before  the  end  of  March  2008,  Rudd said.

Climate change conference opens on Indonesia’s Bali

Sample Image A major UN-sponsored climate change conference opened on Indonesia's Bali yesterday, tasked with crafting a road map for negotiations leading to a new pact for addressing global warming. The 11-day conference, held under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and attended by more than 180 nations, comes as evidence mounts of the havoc rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns are set to wreak on world ecosystems and humankind.

Under the new pact, industrialised countries will be pressed to massively reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases from the end of 2012, when the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires.

Indonesia's environment minister and the new president of the convention, Rachmat Witoelar, told the opening summit session that there was a building momentum for an agreement to be hammered out here.

"In my consultations, I've heard widespread support from governments on launching a process under the convention to conduct negotiations on the future climate regime, and for agreeing on an agenda for these negotiations," he said.

Some 10,000 delegates are expected in Bali's upmarket tourism enclave of Nusa Dua, where they can whizz between the heavily guarded conference centre and lush beachfront resorts on eco-friendly bicycles provided by organisers.

UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer warned that Bali and other idyllic places vulnerable to climate change were destined to become "lost paradises" unless drastic action was taken.

"Public expectations for Bali to provide answers are big. The eyes of the world are upon you. There is a huge responsibility for Bali to deliver," he said.

"Shaping the future may seem like an impossible task of squaring a circle of conflicting interests. But I firmly believe it can be done," he told the opening session.

Even working out the right order for discussions represented "a huge challenge" for the delegates, De Boer said.

Hans Verolme, climate change director with environmental group WWF, said that the worst outcome would be if negotiations ended with a vague statement acknowledging the problem, but offering no concrete plan.

"We need to put some meat on the bones. This is not just a talk about talking," he told AFP, adding that WWF was pushing for a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The talks received an immediate boost as Australia's new prime minister Kevin Rudd said he had ratified the Kyoto Protocol as his first official act after being sworn in as the nation's leader following elections last month.

The move by Rudd, who will also travel to Bali, leaves the United States as the only advanced economy yet to ratify the protocol.

Ahead of the Bali meeting, the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that damage to the Earth's weather systems this century would doom poor countries to worse hunger, water stress and damage from violent storms.

Nearly a third of plant and animal species could be wiped out.

The conference is expected to see China, India and Brazil pressured to crank up action against their surging pollution levels, while countries in the frontline of climate change will be clamouring for funds to help them cope.

As part of the conference, Indonesia has invited trade ministers to Bali on December 8-9 and finance ministers on December 10-11. The conference concludes with a December 12-14 meeting of environment ministers under the UNFCCC.

The UNFCC's de Boer has set a triple benchmark to judge Bali's success: a decision to launch negotiations, and agreement on agenda for those negotiations and an end-date for those negotiations.

Negotiations must ideally conclude in Copenhagen at the end of 2009, giving countries sufficient time to ratify the new treaty so that it dovetails with the end of commitments under Kyoto.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Stephanie Tunmore said that hopes were high for the conference amid mushrooming public awareness and pressure on governments to act fast to prevent a climate disaster.

"There are huge expectations," she said.

 

* AFP

 

 

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