Delegates from more than 160 nations debated how to curb emissions at the UNFCCC meeting in Bangkok. The meeting was the first of eight planned to negotiate a new treaty after the Kyoto Protocol, which runs through 2012. The final summit will be in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.
The nations agreed carbon-trading markets, or the Clean Development Mechanism created under the Kyoto Protocol, should continue as a tool for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions linked to global warming.
“This sends an important signal to businesses that the international carbon market spawned by the Kyoto Protocol will continue beyond 2012,” Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in a statement. “Businesses have been asking for clarity on this issue, and now they have it.”
The Bangkok talks, tasked with providing a schedule on how subsequent negotiations will go about reaching a new global climate treaty, went past midnight on the final scheduled day, as negotiators struggled to reach agreement.
“The aim remains a new global deal in 2009, but it’s hard to leave Bangkok confident that deadline can be met,” said Elliot Diringer, director of international strategies at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, said in a statement.
The Kyoto accord requires 37 nations to cut pollution from 1990 levels by 2012. Japan, the world’s second-biggest economy, pledged to trim annual emissions by 6 percent, and has so far relied on voluntary reductions by households, utilities and factories. The nation’s emissions rose 6.4 percent in the year ended March 2007 from 17 years earlier.
Japan has made climate change a top priority when it hosts the Group of Eight summit of industrialized nations in July.
“The Japanese government will have to build much more trust with major developing countries if they want to lead the G8 towards a reasonably good agreement at the upcoming summit,” Kathrin Gutmann, climate policy coordinator for WWF International, said in a statement.
The Bangkok meeting is the first since the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December, where the U.S. succeeded in resisting a call for mandatory cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases by industrialized nations. China and 130 developing countries resisted calls that would have made them limit pollution as their economies expand.
China said earlier this month in UN documents that developed nations such as the U.S. should cut emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2020, a position put forward by the European Union and developing nations during climate-change negotiations last year in Bali.
The EU and the U.S. caused the buildup of the world’s emissions, accounting for more than half of cumulative greenhouse-gas output from 1900 to 2005, while China and India contributed 8 percent and 2 percent, respectively, the Paris- based International Energy Agency said in November.
The world will become at least 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer by 2100, threatening food supplies, causing conflict and making some species extinct, Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said on March 11.