UN meet kicks off; hope for new treaty
Amid the global financial turmoil, United Nations Climate Change Conference began yesterday in Poznan, Poland, with a hope to reach a consensus among least developed, developing and developed countries to sign a new treaty during next year's conference in Copenhagen.
The treaty, if signed, would succeed the Kyoto Protocol.
The Poznan summit has been termed "half-way mark of the road to Copenhagen" as decisions made by representatives of developed and developing countries are to be clinched in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. Those will be enforced in 2013, a year after the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Danish Premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke during the inauguration of the conference. Executive Secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Yvo de Boer, Conference of Party (COP-14) President and Polish Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki and Mayor of Poznan Ryszard Grobenlny also addressed the opening session held at the international conference centre.
Donuld Tusk said despite Poland being heavily dependent on coal, they are taking up the challenge to reduce carbon emissions.
"We are here to discuss how to step up our fight against climate change and develop a new common path to development and cooperation," he said in his speech.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said combating climate change is the right green choice, the right economic choice and also the right political choice.
Climate change will only grow stronger, if we do not act now. Therefore, the financial crisis should not lower the priority of the commitment to other urgent issues like the climate change and poverty alleviation, said Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Turning the economy from high carbon to low carbon does not slow down growth, he said, adding, "We must agree to reduce global CO2 emissions 50 percent by 2050."
Reminding that unmitigated climate change will impose significant cost on the economy, UN Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said, delaying actions now will only make future actions more costly.
Around 9,000 participants including government officials, NGO workers, scientists, and journalists from 190 countries gathered in Poznan to attend the two-week-long conference. The high-level segment of the conference (December 11 and 12) will be attended by around 150 environment ministers.
This part of the conference will be inaugurated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and attended by the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt and Prime Minister of Tuvalu Apisai Ielemia.
A 16-member delegation comprising Bangladesh government officials and NGO workers are attending the conference. Raja Debasish Roy, special assistant to the chief adviser will act as the head of the Bangladesh delegation.
Even though the Poznan conference is taking place amid global financial crisis and economic recession, it is expected to produce progress on several issues which are important, particularly for developing countries, in the run up to 2012 including adaptation, finance, technology and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
In the context of adapting to the effects of climate change, parties are expected to put the finishing touches to the Kyoto Protocol's Adaptation Fund so that is it ready to roll out projects in 2009.