UN to Seek Replacement for Kyoto Climate Agreement at December Conference

The United Nations says it hopes to emerge from an upcoming global climate change conference in Bali with a clear commitment to negotiate an agreement beyond the current Kyoto Protocol.  Trish Anderton reports from Jakarta.

The U.N. says time is running out to chart a future agreement on climate change. The commitments agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol expire in 2012, and so far, there is nothing to take their place.  Axel Wustenhagen of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change says it is critical to launch that process at December's meeting in Bali.

"The international community is pressing the governments to come to terms in Bali, to agree that they now start negotiating, that the mandate is there to start negotiating on the new text," Wustenhagen said. "That is what we want."

Officials say businesses are expressing increased interest in the clean energy and carbon trading markets, but they want the security of an agreement beyond 2012 before they invest.  They add that the next agreement could be an extension of the Kyoto accord, or it could be a new round of commitments involving a larger number of countries.

Another U.N. climate change official says the Bali meeting will also try to ensure that all developing countries get a fair shot at clean development projects.  Such projects award countries or private companies carbon credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in the world.

The U.N.'s Kevin Grose says currently, such projects more often go to nations with larger economies.

"China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico have been the recipient of the bulk of all the projects," Grose said. "And particularly for African countries, they have found themselves unable to compete.  The projects they are putting forward, that they're working on with their partners, just don't have that same economy of scale that the projects do for China, for example."

Meanwhile, ministers from about 40 countries have signaled they are ready to commit to climate change negotiations. Their meeting this week near Jakarta included representatives from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Australia, China, India and others.

Australia and the United States, which have been climate change skeptics in the past, agreed that the talks should be completed in 2009.  A U.N. official says representatives of industrialized nations acknowledged they must take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while engaging developing nations in the process.


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