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Post-Kyoto Climate Change Talks Open in Ghana

Post-Ktoto climate change talks open in GhanaUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change delegates have gathered in Accra, the capital of Ghana, aiming to lay another stepping stone on the path towards achieving substantive international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change post expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, according to reporting published in the International Institute of Sustainable Development’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

Welcoming delegates to Accra Thursday, Ghana’s minister of local government, rural development and environment Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, described the talks “as an important milestone on the path to Copenhagen and an opportunity to demonstrate the seriousness of current efforts to address climate change,” IISD reported.

Denmark’s minister of climate and energy Connie Hedegaard urged delegates “to advance negotiations and to establish a mid-term target for emission reductions in addition to ambitious targets to halve emissions by 2050.” She also encouraged delegates to achieve practical results regarding development of flexible mechanisms and forestry, as well as well as further elaborating building blocks agreed to at UNFCCC 13th Conference of Parties summit earlier this year in Bali.

UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer noted that the African continent would be one of the most greatly affected by the effects of forecast climate change. A future climate change regime needs to address Africa’s adaptation needs and lay a path for clean development across the continent, he was reported as saying.

The UNFCCC’s Adaptation Fund is now operational, Ghana’s President John Agyekum Kufuor, noted, evidence of the progress made in this regard since COP 13. “He emphasized the need for an agreement in which developing countries commit to climate-resilient development facilitated by financial and technological support from developed countries,” according to IISD’s report.

Portents of debate over alternative approaches to internationally coordinated means and methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change surfaced during the meeting’s opening day sessions.

Speaking on behalf of the G-77/China faction, the Philippines’ delegate maintained that sectoral approaches should not replace legally binding emission reduction commitments by developed countries. Japan, the leading advocate of sectoral approaches, said that these should include analyzing sectoral emissions; aggregating the greenhouse gas reduction potential of sectors; determining reduction targets for developed countries; and disseminating best available technologies to promote measurable, reportable and verifiable actions in developing countries.

Serious debate is also expected when it comes to another focus of the climate change meeting in Ghana: Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). Delegates from countries rich in forests are expecting “heated discussions” on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests),according to IISD.

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