The United Nation process is in danger of collapsing unless countries are able to agree on the best way to stop global warming by the end of this year, the outgoing head of climate change negotiations has warned.
More than 170 UN countries gathered in Bonn this weekend for the first meeting on climate change since talks ended in chaos in Copenhagen at the end of last year. Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is leading the talks, said small progress was made on technical issues. He said officials will meet at least three more times before a final meeting of ministers in Cancun, Mexico at the end of the year where it is hoped the world will finally reach an agreement on the best way to stop catastrophic warming. The meeting at Copenhagen failed because rich and poor countries could not agree on the best way to cut greenhouse gases. Mr de Boer, who will leave his post in June, said the world cannot afford another failure. “Copenhagen was the last get-out-of-jail-free card and we cannot afford another failure in Cancun,” he said. “I think if we see another failure in Cancun, that will cause a serious loss of confidence in the ability of this process to deliver.” However the three day meeting in Bonn suggest there are still serious disagreements for the world to overcome. Developing countries accused the rich world of trying to ‘bully’ the poorer nations into signing up to a weak deal by withholding aid. In response rich countries said there would be no movement until big developing countries like China agree to cut emissions. The question of who will succeed Mr de Boer will also influence the progress of future talks, with growing speculation that a candidate from the developing world will be brought in to mend trust between the rich and poor nations