In UN Climate Talks, Rich, Poor Nations Can't Find Common Ground

Outside the U.N. conference center in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by: Adopt a Negotiator / CC BY-ND

United Nations-led climate talks in Bangkok, Thailand, end Friday (April 8) with dim prospects of forging an agenda that was expected to shape negotiations for the rest of the year.

Developing nations want to extend the Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding agreement on reducing carbon emissions that expires in 2012, according to observers of the Bangkok climate summit that kicked off April 3.  Meanwhile, developed countries prefer to support last year’s Cancun agreements, which have salvaged the U.N.’s multilateral climate negotiations, Alertnet notes.

“The actual discussions started two days ago and it’s all about setting the agenda and that’s where they are still this afternoon,” Shalimar Vitan, Oxfam’s East Asia economic justice campaigns coordinator, told AlertNet Thursday.

“This is a bit unfortunate because what Cancun did was define what needs to be done by the time of Durban,” Vitan said. “And here they are, starting by setting another agenda and not agreeing what the agenda is.

The Cancun agreements cover a $100 billion green fund, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and forest degradation, and measures to monitor, report and verify emissions reductions by developed countries.

>> Cancun Agreements Revive UN Climate Talks - Officials

“There is a danger that we are losing what we actually gained in Cancun, which includes (setting up) new bodies that are supposed to bring this whole process forward, like the Adaptation Committee and the Green Climate Fund,” said Marion Vieweg of Climate Analytics, a German nonprofit that provides technical support to developing countries, as quoted by Alertnet.

Tetteh Hormeku of the Ghana-based Third World Network-Africa said a mistrust between rich and poor nations, particularly over perceptions that wealthy countries want out of Kyoto agreements, is also hindering the talks.

“If people take on binding legal agreements and refuse to implement them, and these are countries with rule of law, then what faith do they give to other (countries) that if we have an agreement again they are going to follow it?” he asked.

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  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.