UN official cites obstacles to climate change agreement News
UN official cites obstacles to climate change agreement

[JURIST] Director of the UN secretary-general’s Climate Change Support Team Janos Pasztor said [recorded video] Monday that a December UN Climate Change Conference [official website] in Copenhagen, Denmark may not produce a treaty. Pasztor suggested that the success of the conference would be difficult to judge without the US Congress passing a climate bill and industrialized nations determining acceptable carbon dioxide emission levels and sources of funding to aid the reduction efforts of developing nations. Pasztor said:

The secretary-general believes that we must maintain the political momentum established by the 101 heads of state and government who attended the climate change summit and continue to aim for an ambitious, politically binding agreement in Copenhagen that would chart the way for future post-Copenhagen negotiations that lead to a legally binding global agreement.

Despite these concerns, Pasztor encouraged participating representatives to work toward defining the content of an eventual, legally-binding agreement [press release], noting that recent findings indicate the climate situation is worse than previously believed.

Some 1500 climate change negotiators from around the world met under UN auspices in Bangkok [official website] last week as a precursor to the major climate change meeting slated for Copenhagen in December. Thusfar, Western countries have been unable to convince developing nations to commit to reductions in emissions when the Western world has not done so either. In March, the US Special Envoy on Climate Change announced [JURIST report] at a UN Convention on climate change that the US is committed to the creation of an international treaty designed to combat global warming, but that such efforts would only succeed if they were economically feasible. The Copenhagen meeting is supposed to establish a replacement for the controversial Kyoto Protocol [JURIST news archive], which the US did not sign. Negotiations on a new treaty began [JURIST report] last year.