Government delegates began two weeks of climate talks in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, marking the final push before the COP15 Climate Conference meets this December in Copenhagen. The talks begin on the heels Climate Week and a UN Climate Change Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week in New York City.
As the time draws near for the world to collectively decide how to move forward, and in the face of increasingly compelling evidence, it is becoming ever clearer to world leaders and their constituents that the time is now to act on climate change. Bangkok is one of the last steps to hammer out details that will give delegates in Copenhagen the best chance possible of success come December.
Following is an excerpt of the opening statement from Bangkok by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer:
Last week, over 100 world leaders met at the Secretary-General’s Summit on Climate Change in New York. They expressed their determination to seal a comprehensive, fair and effective deal at Copenhagen to avoid dangerous climate change. This was enormously encouraging and I believe it was a real turning point. It offers the negotiations support to build the success which you have longed for, and which you have worked so hard to achieve. Your task is complex. It has always been so.
The Secretary-General’s summary of the summit recorded a firm political will to reach a comprehensive deal that ensures five essential elements, all of which are embedded in the texts you have created:
1. Enhanced action to assist the most vulnerable and the poorest in the world to adapt to the impacts of climate change;
2. Ambitious emission reduction targets for industrialized countries, in line with the science;
3. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries, with the necessary support;
4. Significantly scaled-up financial and technological resources to help the developing world to adapt and to mitigate;
5. Equitable governance structure to manage and deploy that support.
World leaders also signalled their determination to remain personally engaged until a deal has been sealed, and to support you towards an agreement. I am confident that following the climate change summit, you have been given the high-level support at home that will make it possible for you to be ambitious in the negotiations.
Time is not just pressing, it has almost run out. But in two weeks, real progress can be made towards the goals that world leaders have set for the negotiations, to break deadlocks, and to cooperate towards concrete progress. As many leaders have said: ìThere is no plan B.î And if we do not realize plan A, the future will hold us to account for it. Some say this clock is ticking down to nothing, but you know this not true.
The Secretary-General’s summit was encouraging. But an AOSIS [Alliance of Small Island Nation] summit also took place in New York and reminded the world of a stark reality: many AOSIS nations are already fighting for survival. Science tells us that the people of many more nations will be fighting for their survival in the not too distant future. Their needs cannot be denied. Their survival is in your hands.
Above all, action builds trust. I urge those who can be more ambitious to act. The world will follow, and will remember those who led.
The Bangkok talks must end in an evident spirit of cooperation and with evident progress. I believe that the pace of action in the negotiations can and will match an increasing pace of action that we are seeing at the highest level.
The political winds are behind you, the negotiating sails are set. With all my heart, I urge you to pull up anchor and make full sail before we lose the tide and are left stranded on the beach, exposed to the coming storms.
I wish you courage. Your secretariat stands ready to support you. Thank you.
Goals for Bangkok, September 17 2009:
Bangkok talks open, press briefing Day One: