News

UN Envoy: Climate Change Talks Moving Forward

First official draft for a deal at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen says the world should at least halve world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The blueprint was released as European leaders pledged over $10 billion to help poor countries cope with climate change.

Speaking in Copenhagen, Yvo de Boer, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary, said the draft showed that climate negotiations are moving forward.

"Negotiators are beginning to turn their attention to the bigger picture and the ultimate outcome of this conference," he said.

De Boer described the document as a 'framework', which still needs to be fleshed out.

The document leaves open the issue of how much cash will be needed to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

But European countries announced Friday they will contribute over $10 billion over the next three years.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the European Union was committed to major emissions reductions.

"Our aim is through an ambitious deal that the European Union commit to reduce its emissions by 30 percent by 2020. The agreement must include a financial framework that is for the short-term, medium-term, and long-term," he said.

The draft text also leaves open the exact target for limiting temperature rise. Small Islands and some poor countries have called for temperature rise to be capped at 1.5 degrees Celsius - lower than the two degree figure endorsed by major developing economies in July.

But the draft does call on developed nations to cut green house gas emissions by at least 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 and by at least 50 percent by 2050. Greenhouse gases are the byproduct of fossil fuels, which scientists say are heating up the earth's atmosphere and bringing chaos to its climate system.  

Scientist Stephan Harrison from Britain's University of Exeter says 50 percent-reduction targets are a good step, But he says, that reduction won't be enough to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees.

"People have said that 80 percent reduction is probably the minimum required, so 50 percent clearly wouldn't be enough," he said.

He says the United States needs to take the lead in curbing emissions.

"America has enormous influence -- it's enormously powerful politically, so what America decides to do will have absolute fantastic influence," he added.

The United States has so far refused to sign up for legally binding lower emissions targets.

Grace Akumu is climate change advisor to the Kenya government. Speaking from Copenhagen she said the US has to do more to match the European Union's commitment to limiting climate change.

"America also should join other developed countries who propose comparable emissions reductions targets and time frames," she said.  "So that the EU does not feel boxed to the corner. Because now the European Union has been baring the burden alone and America -- the largest emitter -- has been on the side of the Kyoto protocol," she added.

The conference in Copenhagen will continue until December 18. Early next week ministers will be arriving in Denmark's capital to join negotiations. Country leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, are expected at the end of the week.

The goal is to reach a global deal on tackling climate change, which will come into effect in 2013.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs