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Climate Talks in Bonn Made Some Progress, Envoys Say

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
May 04, 2010
Publisher Name: 
Business Week
Jeremy van Loon and Randall Hackley
Author e-Mail: 
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May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Mexican and German efforts to bring together delegates from more than 40 countries helped push climate negotiations forward even though they produced no tangible achievement, Germany’s environment envoy said today.

The three-day Bonn meeting “built up trust” and helped to “bring movement to the climate talks,” German environment minister Norbert Roettgen said at a joint press conference in Bonn with Juan Elvira Quesada.

Mexico wants to prepare agreements on climate adaptation financing for poorer nations ahead of the United Nations- sponsored meeting it’s hosting in Cancun that starts in late November, the Mexican minister said. Divisions between richer and poorer countries on how to cut carbon emissions resulted in the failure of UN talks in December in Copenhagen.

While ministers trumpeted their efforts in Bonn during the highest-level political meeting since negotiations in the Danish capital, no “real” progress has been made on the most important issue of cutting emissions, said Martin Kaiser, who follows climate negotiations for pressure group Greenpeace.

“Nothing has changed since Copenhagen,” Kaiser said in an interview. “The situation is getting desperate. Without signals from an international treaty, business will fail to make the investments needed to stop global warming.”

Mexican Talks

Mexican officials plan to travel to countries including Norway, China and Pacific island states to pave the way for specific agreements on adaptation, funding and technology before the Cancun meeting, the minister said. Keeping global temperature gains below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) will be a “formidable challenge,” he added.

The German environment minister said he will push for the European Union to speed up emissions reductions by 2020 and also wouldn’t exclude the possibility of extending the Kyoto Protocol that limits emissions only for industrialized nations.

International progress on cutting emissions is stalled partly because President Barack Obama hasn’t managed to move legislation through the Senate spelling out domestic reductions in the U.S. will be made, said Greenpeace’s Kaiser. Obama’s energy bill is competing for time with a proposed law on immigration.

The informal climate talks, held at a luxury hotel overlooking the Rhine River near Bonn, occurred as demand for energy is expanding along with economic growth in China and India.

Electricity production will probably increase 2.5 percent each year through 2030, adding the equivalent of five times the current capacity in the U.S., the International Energy Agency estimates.

Coal, one of the most polluting forms of energy, will likely account for 44 percent of that power production by 2030, up from 41 percent now, the IEA says


Extpub | by Dr. Radut