UN moves ahead on path to treaty

The world is “not standing still” in its work on a post-2012 climate treaty, the United Nations said in issuing a range of rival ideas for addressing climate change, Reuters reported. The 53-page text included such issues as 2020 goals for cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions and ways to monitor actions to curb global warming by developing nations such as China and India.

“This document marks an important point on our road,” Yvo de Boer, head of the UN climate change secretariat, said in a statement that will form a basis for negotiations on a new pact to be agreed in Copenhagen in December. “With only 200 days before Copenhagen, time gets tighter but the world is not standing still on climate change.”

Included were suggestions that developed nations set aside up to 2% of their gross national product to help poorer countries cope with climate change, while rich countries called for developing nations to do more to limit their emissions. Also included were ideas on how to promote the wider use of carbon markets, as well as ways to protect tropical forests that soak up carbon dioxide.

A first set of proposals for cuts by rich nations in the existing Kyoto Protocol was published last week. The Kyoto pact – which the United States did not ratify – obliges reductions in greenhouse gases of at least 5% below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

“Warming of the climate system, as a consequence of human activity, is unequivocal,” the UN’s draft text begins. Global warming, it warns, will have adverse effects on food security, health and the fight against poverty.

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