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Climate talks under way in Bonn

erosionThe latest round of international climate change talks are now under way in Bonn.

Speaking on opening day, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, warned that not much time remains to negotiate a meaningful response to climate change before the next round of international talks begin in Copenhagen this December.

Those talks need to achieve at least four goals, de Boer said:

  • To decide what targets industrialized nations will set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • To find ways in which developing countries can limit emissions growth;
  • To resolve financing issues to help developing countries to respond effectively; and
  • To set up a system that gives developing countries an equal voice in how resources for mitigation and adaptation are used.

Despite the disturbing signs of accelerating climate change, at least one bright spot has so far emerged at the Bonn talks: the presence of a new US delegation that actually recognises the realities of global warming. Chief US negotiator Todd Stern earned the gathering’s applause with comments like these: “You will not hear anyone on my team cast doubt upon or downplay the threat of global climate change. The science is clear, and the threat is real. The facts on the ground are outstripping the worst case scenarios. The costs of inaction — or inadequate actions — are unacceptable.”

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