U.N. climate talks intensify
By Juliet Eilperin
While it appears unlikely the nations of the world will be able to ink a climate treaty by the end of the year, U.S. special climate envoy Todd Stern said in an interview Thursday that negotiators have begun to intensify their discussions in the run up to this year's U.N. climate talks.
U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiators will kick off a three-day meeting in Bonn Friday, and many of the same players will reconvene in Washington on the 18th for a meeting of the Major Economies Forum, a meeting of the world's biggest greenhouse-gas emitters.
Whether these talks will succeed in producing a meaningful accord, Stern said, depends on "the degree to which a critical mass of countries ...takes a position toward the pragmatic and away from the ideological. There is a lot of ideological posturing that has marked climate negotiations, basically forever. We're very much in favor of taking the pragmatic approach and taking things forward."
There's still plenty of drama and ideological warfare happening right now behind the scenes at the UNFCC negotiations. Several developing countries are upset that the "fast-start" money the industrialized world has promised -- $10 billion a year for three years --remains controlled by donor countries rather than those in a position to receive it. For the short term, Stern said, that won't change.
Stern said the U.S. is "supportive of a fund that's got balanced governance," but that's only over the long term.
"We would see the shape of funding going forward over time being different from what occurs now," he said. "But for the immediate, out-the-door money now, there's just not time to change that."
On a broader level, Stern said, countries are focused on reaching an agreement on the six key elements of a climate deal -- mitigation, transparency, financing, adaptation, technology and forest preservation -- by the end of the year, regardless of whether the deal is codified in a legal treaty.
"In the immediate future, people will try to make progress and try to push all of those issues forward, and build on what was considerable progress last year," he said.
Juliet Eilperin| April 8, 2010; 11:00 AM ET Save & Share:
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