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De Boer: Without Agreement ‘The Whole House Of Cards Falls To Pieces’

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer has voiced concern about the pace of the Bali climate negotiations. He explained that many of the outstanding issues taken into the high-level segment had been linked to each other, thereby creating an “an all-or-nothing situation,” and that if the work on a future agreement was not completed in time, then “the whole house of cards falls to pieces.”

During yesterday’s noon briefing, De Boer stressed that it was “imperative for all countries to realize that progress on the future is in their interest.” The whole purpose of launching these formal negotiations, he said, was to achieve a broader agreement that would deliver on existing commitments under the Convention; for example on technology and on finance to green the economic growth of developing countries. Without a decision on the future, he said, that prospect would no longer be there.

The discussion on the future was currently bogged down on several points, he explained. These included how to formulate the level of ambition for both rich and poor countries, how to formulate what would be delivered in terms of technology transfer and also financial issues.

On the recurring question of whether emission reduction ranges would be included in the text on the future, Mr. de Boer acknowledged that some countries such as the European Union and a number of G77 countries were in favour of including the 25 percent-40 percent range in the text, while others such as the U.S. had made clear their opposition to this idea. Any inclusion of numbers in the text, he added, would exceed his expectations for this conference.

At a second press briefing in the late afternoon, De Boer struck a more optimistic note than earlier. He said that the technology issue had now been solved, which meant that technology needs assessments made by developing countries would be turned into concrete project proposals. There were also more encouraging signs with regard to a post-2012 agreement.

Still to be resolved was how to formulate the objectives of industrialized countries on the one hand and those of developing countries on the other.On the issue of emission reduction ranges, De Boer said: “What’s becoming clear to me is the more robust industrialized countries are willing to be in terms of the effort they are working towards, the stronger the reaction you’re likely to get from developing countries.”

If these commitments were watered down, he said, G77 countries would be justified in asking why they should be more ambitious.

Source: UNFCCC

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