Talks on climate rules inch on, despite lack of leadership
By FRANK JORDANS
May. 10, 2018
BERLIN (AP) — Diplomats from some 190 countries have wrapped up two weeks of talks on drafting a rulebook for combating climate change, with observers Thursday noting some progress but also a lack of the kind of leadership that helped bring about the 2015 Paris accord.
The pact's signatories have set themselves a December deadline to agree on the precise rules countries have to stick to under the Paris agreement, which aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
With seven months left, negotiators acknowledged that more work is needed before they can present ministers with a draft text at a December climate summit in Katowice, Poland. An additional round of talks has been scheduled for Sept. 3-8 in Bangkok, Thailand, to make that happen.
Patricia Espinosa, head of the U.N. agency that oversees climate talks, said she was satisfied some progress had been made during the negotiations that ended Thursday in Bonn, Germany.
"But many voices are underlining the urgency of advancing more rapidly," she added.
Espinosa described the package being negotiated as "highly technical and complex." It aims to ensure that the efforts countries claim they're making in the fight against global warming can be verified and compared.
Other issues under negotiation include funding for poor nations and how to close the gap between what governments have pledged to do and what's needed to meet the 2-degrees goal.
The Paris deal is widely credited for the efforts made by the previous U.S. administration under President Barack Obama in bringing together the diverging interests of rich and poor countries. With his successor Donald Trump threatening to withdraw from the pact, some fear it could fall apart.
Camilla Born of the climate policy think tank E3G said the pressure is on China, Canada and the European Union "whilst the U.S. is for now missing in action."
A group of U.N. human rights experts warned this week that climate summit host Poland risked stifling the kind of spontaneous environmental protests normally seen at climate summits because of new laws that give security services additional powers.
In a statement, Poland's Environment Ministry said Thursday that the new laws "do not impose any restrictions on holding meetings, provided that an advance notification is provided."
"Poland will do its utmost to ensure that the restrictions (...) have the least impact on the ability of all observers to participate actively and constructively," the ministry said.
Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.