Climate change talks to resume
New York, 12 February 2001 The President of the climate change talks that were suspended last November in The Hague announced at UN Headquarters today that the negotiations will resume for two weeks within the period from mid-June to late July 2001. The exact dates and the venue will be decided shortly based on the availability of suitable conference facilities.
The decision by Jan Pronk, Environment Minister of The Netherlands, was taken after wide-ranging consultations with the Bureau of the Conference and with governments who wanted sufficient time to prepare adequately for the conference. It reflects his conviction that the membership of the UN Climate Change Convention remain strongly committed to advancing the Convention's work and to making the 1997 Kyoto Protocol fully operational.
"Our immediate challenge is to maintain political engagement and to safeguard the many substantive advances achieved at The Hague," said Mr. Pronk. "I hope that the shock of our inability to reach agreement last November will spur all governments to further efforts to find the middle ground of compromise and consensus."
The decision to continue pursuing a political consensus comes shortly after the release of a major report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirming the scientific consensus that the evidence for humanity's influence on the global climate is now stronger than ever before. A companion report detailing how global warming will impact humanity and the natural environment in the different regions of the world will be released by the IPCC next Monday in Geneva.
"As the scientific understanding of the risks we are creating for the coming decades becomes increasingly solid, the urgency of controlling greenhouse emissions becomes ever more real," said Michael Zammit Cutajar, the Convention's Executive Secretary.
"With the Kyoto Protocol's initial emissions targets set to kick in by 2008, it is time for political leaders to respond to the warnings of the scientists by putting into place policies that will lead to early and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," he said.
Key issues that must still be resolved at the resumed talks include a package of financial support and technology transfer to help developing countries contribute to global action on climate change, including measures for adapting to climate change impacts; the establishment of an international emissions trading system and a "clean development mechanism"; the rules for counting emissions reductions from carbon "sinks" such as forests; and a compliance regime.
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