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International Climate Talks Are Progressing, But Very Slowly

The climate negotiations are proceeding at an “unacceptable” pace, said UN climate chief Christiana Figueres today, but progress is being made.

Speaking in Cologne at the opening of the ninth Carbon Expo exhibition and conference, Figueres said: “I know we’re all frustrated with the slowness of the intergovernmental process”, to applause from delegates. But, she added, “despite the pace, which is completely unacceptable, governments are persevering”, in the face of four years of global economic turmoil.

“They’re persevering because they, and we, have no other option,” Figueres said. “The direction is clear – [but] the pace is frustrating and unacceptable.”

Figueres praised those governments that agreed in Durban to participate in a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which will start in January and run for a yet to be determined period, hailing it as “a courageous decision, that shows real international leadership”. At a meeting which ended in Bonn last week, participating nations began to focus on three options to deal with the carry-over of credits from the protocol’s 2008-12 first period – a crucial sticking point in the talks.

She also pointed to progress by developing countries, the representatives of which in Bonn approved a registry for their nationally appropriate mitigation activities, which will allow for the progress of their voluntary emissions pledges to be tracked.

But she blasted negotiators for the lack of progress under the new negotiating stream building on agreements reached in Durban – for a new international climate change agreement to be reached by 2015 to take effect in 2020, and also to raise ambition on interim emissions reduction targets – saying: “How is it possible that they spent two weeks discussing an agenda with two points?”

With regard to carbon markets, Figueres said that there was some progress on a new market mechanism, in that governments have decided it should have a broader reach than the current project-based mechanisms. She noted that the UN climate secretariat is calling for submissions on the scope and procedures for such a mechanism until 6 July.

“I can tell you for sure that the [Clean Development Mechanism] will continue,” she said, “but I can also tell you for sure that it won’t be the only market mechanism.”

Figueres said that the market is in “a very fertile period of creation of a much more robust and complex market system”, which can attract “more mature, long-term investors”, such as pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.

By. Katie Kouchakji

Source: Environmental Finance


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