No Happy Ending yet for Climate Talks

Asia will attempt to gain headway in important climate talks this week following unsatisfactory meetings in Bonn last week.

The Asian Development Bank will bring together government leaders, experts and policymakers at the Climate and Clean Energy Week from June 16 to 19, a two-part event consisting of a high-level dialogue and the 4th Asia Clean Energy Forum.

ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda expects Asian stakeholders to discuss priorities in the lead up to the United Nations-sponsored climate conference in Copenhagen in December, which seeks to expand the Kyoto Protocol – the agreement that sets carbon emission reduction targets due to expire in 2012.

"Asia's share of greenhouse gas emissions has been growing rapidly over the past two decades and infrastructure investments in the next two decades will have profound impacts on the region's economy and the global climate," he stated.

Talks in Bonn ending on June 12 made some progress but still remained way short of calls for developed nations to effect more substantial cuts, Reuters said.

Rich nations are called on to reduce emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels, but they only offer cuts between 8 and 14 percent, according to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Then there's China, which has refused to commit to mandatory targets, the Times reported. China is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide due to a frenetic pace of economic activity; its refusal to commit to certain obligations may imperil ambitious goals that seek to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

China rejected making any binding commitments following talks in Beijing with U.S. climate change envoy Todd Stern.

Back in the U.S., allies of Barack Obama have yet to reach a consensus on a House climate bill and Senate energy bill, said the Washington Post.

An obviously frustrated U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer has been quoted as saying that a worldwide agreement seems "physically impossible."

Echoing this sentiment, Tom Sharman of ActionAid said: "It is now crystal clear that the world is not on track to reach a just global deal to tackle climate change fairly or effectively in December.

About the author

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    Josefa Cagoco

    Sef Cagoco served as one of Devex's international development correspondent from mid-2008 to mid-2009. Her writing focused on social entrepreneurship and multilateral agencies such as the U.N. and Asian Development Bank. She previously worked as senior reporter for the national daily BusinessWorld and a production journalist for the Financial Times.