This article originally appeared in
Volume 30 Number 11
Wednesday, May 30, 2007          
                                                            Page 434  
ISSN 1522-4090

Climate Change
U.N. Negotiations Seen Setting Stage
For Agreement on Post-2012 Framework

BONN, Germany--Two weeks of international climate change negotiations that ended here May 18 helped set the stage for
negotiations on what will follow Kyoto Protocol commitments that expire in 2012, according to U.N. officials, national delegates, and
observers among the 1,900 participants.

Yvo de Boer, Secretary General of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, has said that negotiations for a post-2012
framework must start no later than December's 13th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP-13) in Bali in order to avoid a
gap between existing and future commitments.

In a statement, de Boer said the Bonn talks had helped lay the groundwork for that.

"This meeting has served to resolve a number of issues ahead of the Bali conference," de Boer said. "We have come closer to
broadening negotiations on a post-2012 regime by resolving some of the outstanding issues and clarifying which building blocks of a
future agreement need to be put in place."

The May 7-18 talks were formally known as 26th Sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and
the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), or SB-26.

Delegates and observers agreed, citing progress on rules for the transfer of "green" technology from wealthy to poor countries, on
terms for future talks on adaptation to climatic change, on expanding the number of countries subject to mandatory emissions
targets, and on the terms under which a post-2012 discussion can begin.

A major topic of conversation in Bonn was the latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report,
titled Mitigation of Climate Change, found that climate change could be mitigated at a relatively low cost with the right policies, but it
said the reduction targets contained in the Kyoto Protocol are inadequate (30 INER 386, 5/16/07  ).

Role Seen for Interim Meetings

Participants in the Bonn talks said the shape of a future greenhouse gas emissions regime would be the subject of several
additional meetings before the COP-13 in Bali.

The first of these will be the Group of Eight leaders' summit to be held June 6-8 in Germany, where host Angela Merkel has said she
will make climate change a top priority. The G-8 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom,
and the United States.

In addition, two other meetings to take place during a four-week span in August and September could play an important role. The
usually low-profile Ad-hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex-I Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol could serve as a
venue for furthering the talks. The AWG-4 meeting will take place Aug. 27-31 in Vienna.

"During negotiations [in Bonn], you heard more and more delegates closing discussion on a topic until AWG-4 so that debate can
move on to an area where progress is being made," one European Union delegate told BNA, echoing comments from several other
delegates and observers.

In addition, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced plans for a special meeting of heads of state on climate change to
be held Sept. 24 at U.N. headquarters in New York.

"Ever since the New York plans were officially announced, the profile has been rising," one U.N. official told BNA. "There are some
hopes that real progress can come when people at that level of government meet."

Participants at the talks were hopeful this would help achieve an agreement with meaningful emissions reduction requirements.

"The fact that European, American, and Australian business groups here in Bonn have been calling on governments to adopt long-
term, legally binding emissions reduction targets is a strong signal that they feel the carbon market will be an important part of any
2012 agreement, " de Boer said.  

By Eric J. Lyman

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