Home International Four agreements essential for successful Copenhagen treaty: UN climate chief

Four agreements essential for successful Copenhagen treaty: UN climate chief


New Delhi: With just five days of formal negotiations left before a crucial climate summit in Copenhagen, “clear and ambitious emissions reduction targets from industrialised countries” was the first of four musts for a comprehensive result, the UN climate chief said here Thursday.

The second was “clarity on what major developing countries (read India and China) will do to limit the growth of their emissions”, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said.

He was addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the Delhi conference on development and transfer of green technologies.

Adequate financing from industrialised countries to help developing nations adapt to climate change and mitigate their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was the third essential requirement for a successful deal at Copenhagen, according to de Boer.

The fourth was “clarity on the the institutional mechanism” that will govern the finances. Developing countries must have more control over this, he said.

If any of these “inter-related” issues did not work out, the Copenhagen summit should be “considered a failure”, de Boer said.

But, he added, “there is very high probability that all four parameters will be met”, though the most crucial player, the US, was still busy with its healthcare reform bill. GHG emission reduction targets put forward by industrialised countries so far were “not ambitious enough” and there was still no money on the table, though de Boer hoped G20 finance ministers would show the way on that soon.

GHG emissions — mainly carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use — is already affecting farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and more severe and raising the sea level, with India among countries bearing the brunt of the effects.

While countries are haggling over the extent to which they will mitigate their GHG emissions in future, UNFCCC figures released Wednesday showed their emissions had actually increased from 2000 to 2007. The Kyoto Protocol obliges them to reduce their emissions.

Asked about this, de Boer said: “Countries are meeting their Kyoto Protocol commitments, but not to the extent necessary. It is important that commitments be kept.”

The UN climate chief made it clear that he was not seeking any GHG emission reduction from any developing country. Pointing out that 400 million Indians did not have access to grid electricity, he said: “You cannot reduce something you don’t have.” He was seeking a reduction in emissions from the business-as-usual scenario, a reduction he estimated at 15 percent by 2020.