Bonn 2012: UN climate chief defends progress at talks

By John Parnell

The UN climate change chief has defended the progress made at the latest round of talks after the dawdling pace of negotiations attracted criticism.

UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres in Bonn 2012

Figueres defended the progress made in Bonn as work on a new track of talks began. (Source: Flickr/UNFCCC)

Countries began work two weeks ago on a new global deal on carbon emission cuts, for the first time since the concept was agreed during the closing moments of the Durban meeting in December.

However, progress has been slow with the Durban track of talks, known as the ADP, struggling to set and agenda or appoint a chair in Bonn.

“The ADP talks could have been more speedy but it is helpful for everyone to understand each other’s concerns,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC. “You have to go back to last moments in Durban and look at the circumstances of the agreement,” said Figueres.

“Countries have since been able to go away and assess the agreement, to understand its full implications for their country. It is a process they haven’t taken lightly, there’s firm commitment and dedication there.

“It’s not easy, it’s very new, there are no rules yet and countries have been looking for reassurances from each other.”

Despite the sometimes frustrating nature of the talks, Figueres pointed out that the agenda adopted late last night for the ADP had, crucially, combined both plans for a global deal from 2020 onwards, and work on “enhanced action” with regard to cutting emissions, prior to 2020.

“Work before 2020 has been included. Its very important to relate governments’ ambition with what the science tells us is needed before then,” said Figueres.

She also praised the progress of groups working on the Kyoto Protocol, as the nations signed-up to that process prepare to discuss a new round of legally binding carbon cuts at this year’s climate negotiations finale in Doha.

An additional round of talks could be scheduled for August to give climate diplomats more time to address their burgeoning work load. However, she said they need pledges totalling €4.8m by Monday to fund the unscheduled session in Bangkok.

For more round-up from the Bonn Climate Talks:

RTCC’s round-up of the talks;

UK Youth call on negotiators to ensure intergenerational equity;

German Youth say negotiators must remember why they are doing this.

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