Senior UN climate change official hopes to forge rapid accord


UN News
January 22, 2010

The failure of last month’s United Nations summit in Copenhagen to agree on ambitious and immediate global action to combat climate change means that the task has become more, not less urgent, a senior UN official said in an opinion piece published today.

[efoods]“The window of opportunity to tackle the climate problem closes more rapidly the longer nations delay to act together,” UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer wrote in the Bangkok Post. “But Copenhagen has raised the challenge to the highest level of government policy, the level where it must ultimately be resolved.”

He noted that negotiators at Copenhagen came close to decisions on a set of measures which would make a long-term response operational: a framework to help poor countries adapt, a mechanism to speed technology transfer, a programme to build capacity, and agreements to cut emissions from deforestation and agriculture.

“It will take time for countries to digest the implications,” he said. “This is well and good, for they must come to terms with the challenge ahead. Now, industrialized countries can resume discussions to raise their collective mid-term emission cuts into the minus 25 to 40 per cent range that science has indicated would avoid the worst climate impacts. Failure to achieve this can only mean the need for greater ambition later.

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