OSLO (Reuters) - The world seems on track to launch negotiations on a new treaty to fight climate change this year with an end-2009 deadline for a deal, the United States said on Wednesday.
“I would say consensus...emerged around 2009” as a deadline, Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, told Reuters from a meeting of 40 nations in Indonesia. Dobriansky leads U.S. climate negotiations.
“2009 was mentioned by many around the table, the United States included,” she added in a telephone interview.
The talks in Bogor, Indonesia, are preparing for a 190-nation meeting in Bali, Indonesia, from December 3-14 that many nations want to launch formal negotiations on a new U.N. treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.
Many experts say the end of 2009 will be a very tight deadline, largely because of the complexity of enlisting Kyoto outsiders led by the United States as well as developing nations such as China or India into a new global deal.
“I came away from these discussions feeling there is a strong desire on behalf all the participants for a Bali roadmap,” Dobriansky said. A “roadmap” would be the principles to guide negotiators of a new global treaty.
President George W. Bush opposes Kyoto but this year agreed a need for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars.
Bush, who will step down in January 2009, has said that all major economies should set long-term goals for curbs on greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2008 to feed into the U.N. negotiations.
Dobriansky declined to predict exactly when the Bush administration would outline U.S. cuts. “We’re in that process right now in looking at some of the specifics,” she said.
Kyoto now obliges 36 industrialized nations to cut emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 as a first step to avert what the U.N.’s climate panel says will be more droughts, floods, heat waves and rising seas.
Bush’s current strategy, less stringent than Kyoto, merely seeks to brake the rise of U.S. emissions.
Dobriansky said that ministers meeting in Bogor had a “strong consensus” that any new deal should focus on “four key areas” — curbing emissions, adapting to climate change, financing the fight against global warming and new technologies.
Kyoto took two years to negotiate, from 1995-97. It only entered into force in 2005, after protracted wrangling, partly because Bush decided against implementation. Bush said it would cost too much and wrongly omitted goals for poor nations.