BONN (AFP) – Nations will have to roll up their sleeves and make important compromises to meet the deadline, just 14 months off, for a global pact on curbing climate change, observers say.
Worrying signs of obstinance emerged from six days of UN talks in Bonn which ended Saturday.
Experts said those discussions fell short of their goal to set parameters for a ministerial-level drafting meeting in Lima in December for a deal to be inked the following year.
“There are some danger signals about the way we’re coming out of here. We’re not as far along as I’d hoped we would be,” Alden Meyer of the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists told AFP.
“Some of those visions that are on the table, quite frankly, are not compatible… two opposite views of the world. Choices are going to have to be made.” The six-day talks in the former West German capital ended with nations still divided loosely along developed-developing country lines on the most fundamental aspects of who will be required to do what to halt the march towards dangerous levels of climate change.
They agree the best tool is to curb Earth-warming fossil fuel emissions, which requires an expensive shift to less-polluting energy sources.
But poorer nations, many of them facing the highest risks from a predicted increase in climate change-induced sea-level rise, floods and droughts, insist the developed world must bear greater responsibility given their longer history of emissions dating back to the Industrial Revolution. Rich countries, in turn, point the finger to countries like India and China, which are now among the major emitters as coal powers their economic development.
And these are issues many wished had been resolved by now, so that actual bartering can start on the text of the agreement that must enter into force by 2020 to meet the goal of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels.
“The talks here can’t fairly be called negotiations. They were discussions, sharing of views, but no actual elbows on table dealing with text. I can’t see how they’ll pull the elements together if they continue like this,” said Meena Raman of the Third World Network NGO.
The most anticipated outcome from Bonn had been progress on detailing what information nations will have to provide when they pledge emissions curbs – things like which gases must be cut, by how much, and over what period.
A deadline for pledges, the building blocks for the Paris pact, has been set for the first quarter of 2015, for those countries that are able to do so.