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Cancuún México 29 de noviembre - 10 de diciembre 
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Coming closer to Cancun


Climate change negotiators in Bonn prepare to unify positions at Tianjin before heading to a likely yearend deal in Mexico.

Does it take more time to make a clay pot or cook a meal with the pot? Some may say the latter needs less time.

It depends. For instance, it should be difficult to cook a meal for 192 people with varying food habits, compared to feeding just one family.

The United Nations faces a similar task when it comes to climate change. The world body is saddled with the ultimate task of achieving consensus on ways to fight climate change. For that, it has to expedite human intervention in reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the world.

Last Friday, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres used the pot metaphor to measure the progress of the third round of negotiations at Bonn saying, "governments (from across the world) are much closer now to actually making the pot."

Actually, the pot making started in 2007 when the governments agreed on the Bali Roadmap to define the world's long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.

Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said the Bonn parleys were part of the process of making a pot. She said it had given governments worldwide a final opportunity to be clear on their individual stances regarding climate change issues.

During the previous week, both developing countries and industrialized nations had reinserted established positions into the negotiation texts and tried to increase the number of options for action.

Because divergent stances and optional targets were listed on the 50-page negotiation text last Friday, the media said the talks were retrogressing compared with the three-page political accord announced in Copenhagen last December.

To decide what exactly they were going to cook in the pot, Figueres said governments "must radically narrow down" the choices on the table.
In the closed-door negotiations, developing countries noted the urgent need for industrialized nations to turn their pledges of funding into reality, even while criticizing the rich countries for reduced commitments on emission reduction.

Last year in Copenhagen, rich countries promised $30 billion in fast-track finance for developing country adaptation and mitigation efforts through 2012. And, they further pledged to find ways and means to raise $100 billion a year, by 2020.

However, the fund is nowhere and the funding mechanism is still high up in the air.

Still, developing countries said a lack of transparency regarding the disbursement of emergency funds by rich countries, as agreed in Copenhagen, made it hard for them to compromise on any future deals.

Meanwhile, the US, one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters has stalled its climate change legislation in the Senate, resulting in uncertainties in the minds of other states as to what extent they can expect the US to cooperate on any new pledges.

At the same time, some rich countries have requested that the accuracy of emission reporting by the developing countries be checked, but the latter have said such checks are a threat of sovereignty.

Some had forecast that individual agreements reached in Cancun could include issues such as forest protection, financial aid to help developing nations adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change as well as the delivery of low-carbon technologies to such countries.

Despite those divergences and challenges, the process of cooking is expected to begin soon enough.

And, the first kitchen is located in China's coastal city of Tianjin, where a final round of negotiations is scheduled for early October.

This is a chance, as the UN climate chief says, for the countries to make clear what their collective stances are going to be before the negotiation delegations head for Cancun, Mexico at the end of this year.

It seems she doesn't know how long the cooking will take although she needs a miracle before the Cancun conference is held.

China said it is taking actions to help shoulder its global responsibility in fighting climate change. The Chinese delegation head Su Wei said that China's hosting of the talks in Tianjin has indicated the country's strong political determination to push the challenging discussions forward.

But Su played down the expectations for the Cancun conference, urging every party to try hard to achieve progress as much as possible and lay a solid foundation for the South African climate change talks scheduled for next year in Cape Town.

Perhaps, the final three letters of the UNFCCC indicates how long it would take to cook a climate deal: from Copenhagen, to Cancun to Cape Town.

The author is China Daily's chief correspondent in Brussels.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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