Three Tasks Await Climate Negotiators on Road to Doha Summit


Governments will focus on three main areas in preparation for the year-end Doha climate summit, amending the Kyoto Protocol, operationalizing institutions that can benefit developing countries, and negotiating a path toward a universal agreement, the UN climate chief said.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview that the parties needed to step forward in those aspects to guarantee a fruitful ministerial-level climate conference held in Doha, Qatar, later in the year.

“They will be focusing on decisions in order for there to be an amendment of the Kyoto Protocol, putting developed countries still in the lead with respect to climate mitigation,” Figueres said.

Figueres said countries would also work to further intensify the support infrastructure for developing countries to combat climate change, such as the Green Climate Fund and the Technology Mechanism.

And at the upcoming Bonn gathering on May 14-25 and at other sessions this year, climate negotiators would begin to “prepare the path toward a universal legal agreement” announced at the Durban conference last year, with a view to binding all nations to mitigation targets, she said.

In Durban, a deadline of 2015 was set to end the related negotiations, with the new agreement to come into force by 2020. This was widely seen as a major breakthrough for the yearly UN decision-making climate conference.

“The path toward the legal framework needs to be defined this year,” Figueres said.

Given that the world is currently wasteful of natural resources and still struggling with poverty, “all of us want to work toward a society that is much more responsible with the use of resources and addresses basic human development needs,” she said.

“It does imply a very different economic model that would be underpinned by the realities of climate change. It is not an easy change but a very urgent and necessary one,” she said.

In order to support Rio+20, Xinhua is launching a media campaign Sunday in conjunction with UN Environment Program (UNEP), UNFCCC, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and Thomson Reuters.

With the theme “Green economy transforming our lives,” the campaign will give intensive multimedia coverage to global environmental problems, and to public and private efforts and activities of UN institutions, hoping to raise public awareness of the world’s environmental issues.

“I very much welcome and congratulate this joint campaign,” Figueres said.

“I think you’ve taken a very good approach because it’s not just about reporting the results of one conference or another. It’s a much deeper commitment from the media … in terms of understanding the complexity (of the issue) and translating it in an audience-friendly way,” she said.

As for China, Figueres said the world’s most populous country was heading toward a greener future with impressive targets, promoted both by the outside and inside needs.

Recent droughts and floods have reminded the government that “China is quite vulnerable to climate change,” she said. On the other hand, “from an economic and manufacturing perspective, if China wants continue to be competitive, it has to move into the low-carbon economy.”

Admitting that China was currently “an undisputed leader in renewable energy, especially in wind and solar energy,” she said China had to look at what to do in the future about its reliance on coal, which was leading to considerable and growing urban air pollution and carbon emissions.

The UN climate chief also called on every citizen of the earth to shoulder responsibility for their planet and a better, prosperous life.

“It is very clear that there is no-one of any country that is exempted from the impacts of climate change,” Figueres said.

“We all need to do something about it. It’s not just for governments, which clearly need to stay in the lead. It is for each one of us individually to combat climate change … we all need to help,” she said.


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