More than 1,000 officials from governments around the world will gather in Bangkok, Thailand this week for the next round of talks aimed at crafting a new international agreement to tackle global warming.
This is the first meeting since the United Nations convened the high-profile talks in Bali, Indonesia in December. There, 187 nations agreed to a framework for talks leading to a new agreement that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. The Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. never ratified, held signatories to binding but modest cuts on greenhouse emissions, but it is seen as a tentative first step at best, a failure at worst.
Don't expect any grand agreements out of Bangkok. But discussions like this are critical for working out details on thorny issues like how to pay developing nations to preserve forests, how much the world should focus on adapting to climate change rather than trying to stop it, how to share clean energy technologies economically and to what degree developing nations will be bound by the same restrictions as industrialized nations.
The final agreement will be hammered out next year in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"The challenge is to design a future agreement that will successfully halt the increase in global emissions within the next 10-15 years, dramatically cut back emissions by 2050, and do so in a way that is economically viable and politically equitable worldwide," according to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"The Bangkok meeting of the Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention needs to map out how to tackle this enormous challenge and begin by establishing without delay a clear work program for the next two years.
"Concretely, Parties meeting in Bangkok will identify the areas that need to be further clarified as well as the issues where work needs to be done and in what order that should happen. They will also establish what input is needed from the U.N. at large, the business sector and others, and how this will be integrated into the overall work plan."
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