March 31st, 2008 | China Daily 163 nations meet on climate change
Governments from 163 countries will launch discussions today on forging
a global warming agreement, a process expected to be fraught with
disagreements over which countries should take the lead to reduce
greenhouse gases by as much as half by 2050.
The weeklong, United Nations climate meeting in Bangkok comes on the
heels of a historic agreement reached in December to draft a new accord
on global warming by 2009.
Without a pact to rein in rising greenhouse gases in the next two
decades, scientist say warming weather will lead to widespread drought,
floods, higher sea levels and worsening storms.
“The challenge is to design a future agreement that will significantly
step up action on adaptation, successfully halt the increase in global
emissions within the next 10 to 15 years, dramatically cut back
emissions by 2050, and do so in a way that is economically viable and
politically equitable worldwide,” said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is hosting the
The European Union Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, said the
Bangkok meeting would determine the willingness of all parties to act
All governments, including the United States, agree emissions need to
be reduced to avert an environmental catastrophe. But the major
polluters remain far apart over how best to achieve these goals.
Adding to the complexity of negotiations will be disputes over how best
to help poor countries adapt to environmental changes by speeding up
the transfer of technology and financial assistance from rich nations.
Another contentious issue will be which countries will be required to
make cuts under the new pact and how best to determine the level of