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Goals of the Bangkok Climate Change talks

At today’s opening press conference in Bangkok, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer, explained the work of the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the Convention, and the Working Group on further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol:

“What both these processes are primarily about is setting goals going into the future." 

He said that this involved "defining the level of ambition that industrialized countries can achieve by taking on emission reduction commitments,"as well as "examining to what extent developing countries can take real, measurable and verifiable action to combat climate change, providing that real, measurable and verifiable money is on the table." It also meant focusing on what adaptation measures need to be taken in the future, he said.

The process on future action is set to culminate in a climate change deal at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, which Mr. de Boer called “probably the most complex international agreement that history has ever seen.”

The complexity of what has to be done for Copenhagen, he said, is “to ensure that everything is agreed in a process where nothing is agreed until everything is agreeed,” but added that he was “confident it can be done.”

On the question of emission reduction targets, he said it would be interesting to know what base line year would be chosen, when global emissions should peak, and to determine where the world needs to be by mid-century. However, he added, “the toughest and most interesting question for me is by how much rich countries are willing to reduce their emissions by 2020.” Mr. de Boer underlined that Parties would not discuss emission reduction targets at these talks, but that this would come at a later stage in the UN process.

Rich countries, Mr. de Boer explained, want to know what’s going to be in the "toolbox" for reducing emisssions before they can commit to a certain level of ambition on targets. This is why the Kyoto Protocol AWG is focusing initially on means to achieve emission reduction targets both at home and abroad through international cooperation on climate change.