“Climate change is with us,” began the Honorable Mr. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment of the Republic of Ghana, as he welcomed delegates to the Accra Climate Change Talks. The conference is the third in a series that constitutes the Bali Action Plan. The goal? Establish an international accord to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
More than 1,000 delegates from over 150 countries have come together in Accra. Previous meetings, held in Bangkok in April and Bonn in June, focused on procedure and planning – making the Accra Climate Change Talks the first conference dedicated to actual climate issues.
The political obstacles are formidable. Affluent countries are resistant to policies that may pose an economic burden, while developing economies fear policies that will hinder growth. “Presenting concrete ideas and submitting real substance will be the benchmark for credible leadership in Accra,” says Kim Carstensen, Director of the WWF Global Climate Initiative.
The Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) intends to address:
* Investment in technology development
* Analysis of ways to reach emission reduction targets, including emissions trading
* Emissions trading and the project-based mechanisms
* Land use, land-use change and forestry
* Greenhouse gases
* Possible approaches targeting sectoral emissions
* Consideration of relevant methodological issues.
* Consideration of information on potential environmental, economic and social consequences, including spillover effects
Side delegations, Intergovernmental Organizations, and NGOs are participating with observer status as well as using the talks are a forum for lobbying and communication. The British Royal Navy has sent the HMS Endurance, an ice patrol ship that serves as a venue for climate change research, a teaching tool, and a means of cultural exchange. The Environmental Defense Fund is advocating a market-based approach to both emissions cuts and the reduction of deforestation, the involvement of indigenous peoples in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and stronger U.S. leadership.
Yvoe De Boer, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, entered the talks saying, “It would be difficult to discuss national targets (for GHG gas reductions) before the next US administration is in place.” Yet only five conferences follow the Accra Climate Talks. The next meeting will be held in Pozna≈Ñ, Poland in December, which, only a month after the U.S. election, will reportedly focus on setting carbon emission targets.
The Bali Action Plan has set an ambitious schedule. Delegates are set to meet in Denmark in December 2009, to allow for a 2-year ratification process. Speaking to Reuters, Connie Hedegaard, Denmark’s Climate and Energy Minister and the representative chairing the Copenhagen conference in 2009, has encouraged delegates at the Accra talks to create mid-term targets, “such as 2020, for cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases by developed nations.” Tune into the talks – view a live webcast of the Climate Change Talks or read on for more on climate change from Triple Pundit.
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