The Start of Talks

The Start of Talks

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Negotiations started today in Bali, Indonesia at the 13th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Over the next two weeks, countries are working to agree to a mandate for negotiating the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which currently requires signatories in industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by modest percentages below 1990 levels. The first phase of the Protocol will end in 2012, and agreements need to be made now to be able to negotiate the second phase.

There is now wide recognition that the next phase of commitments to reduce greenhouse gases will need to be much deeper to keep warming below two degrees Celsius. According to the science, above 2 degrees warming, dangerous climate change impacts are much more likely to occur. Over the next two weeks, delegates will working to lay the roadmap so that they can negotiate these deep emissions cuts. Also under discussion are the ways in which industrialized countries can assist developing countries in adapting to climate change and  in reducing emissions, including the sharing of clean technologies and reducing deforestation. Deforestation, which accounts for as much as 25 percent of annual global emissions, is particularly high on the agenda for these meetings.

The test at the end of the two weeks will be to see if negotiators are able to reach an agreement on how to move forward on negotiations of a second phase of the Protocol. These negotiations will need to include critical issues like greenhouse gas emissions targets and financing for adaptation and greenhouse gas reductions in developing countries.