Bonn to host extra U.N. climate talks, treaty unsure

OSLO (Reuters) - Germany will host an extra session of U.N. climate talks in April but it is too early to say if the world will agree a new treaty this year after falling short at a summit in Copenhagen in December, Denmark said on Monday.

A worker walks past a billboard as the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 installation disassembling works are in progress in Bella Center Copenhagen December 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

“The negotiations are picking up speed again after Copenhagen,” Danish Climate and Energy Minister Lykke Friis, who presides over the U.N. negotiations, told Reuters by telephone.

She said that 11 representatives of key nations decided at a one-day meeting at the headquarters of the Bonn-based U.N. Climate Change Secretariat to add an extra session of senior officials from 194 nations in the Germany city from April 9-11.

“There was a positive and constructive atmosphere and all parties were eager to move forward with the negotiations,” she said of the first formal meeting since Copenhagen.

Until now, the calendar had been limited to a session of officials in Bonn from May 31-June 11 and ministerial talks in Cancun, Mexico from November 29-December 10. That was a sharp slowdown from the five preparatory talks last year before Copenhagen.

Friis said she was unsure if U.N. talks would end this year with a new U.N. treaty to combat global warming and succeed the existing Kyoto Protocol. “We are working for an agreement in Cancun but it’s too early to say,” she said.


Last year, many nations had hoped that the Copenhagen summit would agree a legally binding treaty to slow rising emissions of greenhouse gases blamed by the U.N.’s panel of climate experts for floods, droughts, mudslides, heatwaves and rising seas.

The summit ended with the non-binding Copenhagen Accord, which seeks to limit a rise in temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times. It also promised $10 billion a year in aid from 2010-12, rising to $100 billion a year from 2020.

The April meeting, of senior government officials, would be preceded by one-day preparatory talks among key groups of nations. The April talks would also decide if more U.N. meetings were needed before Cancun.

Many nations have become gloomy about Mexico, partly because U.S. carbon-capping legislation seems stalled in the Senate. President Barack Obama wants to cut U.S. emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, or 4 percent below 1990 levels.

In Nusa Dua, Indonesia, the head of the U.N. Environment Programme said developing nations could be able to apply within three months for some of the $30 billion in climate aid promised by rich nations for 2010-12 under the Copenhagen Accord.

Rules for disbusing aid are unclear in the Accord and Achim Steiner said that one developing nation recently asked him if there was a phone number to ring to ask about the cash.

“If, in three months’ time, there still isn’t a phone number then I expect that part of the accord to be in trouble, but I expect there to be one,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of a major U.N. environment conference in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian island of Bali.

With extra reporting by David Fogarty in Singapore and Sunanda Creagh in Nusa Dua, Indonesia; editing by Jon Boyle