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Figueres sees progress in climate change talks

Saturday, December 1, 2012
Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh, centre, chats with vice president of Gas,Transmission and Distribution of NGC Curtis Mohammed, left, and T&T’s first Olympic gold winner Hasely Crawford outside the newly refurbished Caldrac Club House.

Doha, Qatar—UN climate change chief, Christiana Figueres reported progress and success on day five of the two-week long global climate change conference which has among its goals, the extension of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of year. “We’re at that point where we see the strands that are being brought together to be woven,” she told journalists yesterday in the Qatari capital of Doha where the UN Climate Change conference is taking place.


“What remains at the table is very much of a commitment on the part of governments to reach a deal which is inclusive and transparent. The challenge is to identify those strands and bring them together in such a way to the next level for the ministerial level,” said Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


The meeting, which brings together thousands of government representatives, international organisations and civil society members from 195 countries is negotiating several key issues including the seamless continuation of the Kyoto Protocol as of January 1, 2013, which commits legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments on industrialised countries.


Negotiators are seeking an agreement on reducing gas emissions, which reached record levels last year while a new World Bank report warned about an increase in world temperatures by four degrees by 2060. Questioned on the slow pace to achieve a resolution, Figueres said countries arrive at the negotiations with national perspectives while the science on rising temperature is global.


“Science demands a global perspective and that’s where we have the gap,” she added. Governments are also seeking to reach a universal climate change agreement covering all countries from 2020, to be adopted by 2015. On the issue of the long-term climate finance to support action in developing nations, Figueres said ramping up annual contributions from developed nations from $US10 billion to US$100 billion a year is “going to be the heart of the discussions.”


Rich countries have delivered on a 2009 agreement to contribute US$30 billion in grants and loans but commitments will expire this year. A Green Climate Fund designed to channel up to US$100 billion annually to poor countries is still in its infancy stage.


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