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UN Climate Talks May Streamline Negotiations

Delegates from nearly 200 countries are trying to streamline their negotiations and focus on one track at the UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, in an effort to simplify the drafting of a more stringent worldwide treaty on greenhouse gas emissions.

The delegates plan to close two parallel strands of talks, the biggest change to the process since 2007, reported Bloomberg. The delegates will then revisit the effort to enact targets, an attempt that failed in Copenhagen in 2009. The draft treaty, which the parties are trying to reach by 2015, would take effect by 2020.

The new effort would require the world’s biggest emitters – the US, China and India – to join the European Union and Australia in their carbon emissions reduction pledges.

As the two-week climate talks hit their halfway point, the head of the UN’s climate change secretariat said she didn’t see “much public interest, support, for governments to take on more ambitious and more courageous decisions,” the AP reported.

Last year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate adopted the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, which launched a new round of negotiations aimed at developing a legal agreement for the period from 2020 on. Those negotiations are scheduled to conclude in 2015.

A report released this week by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions identifies three broad options under the Durban Platform: an expanded Kyoto Protocol-like approach, legalization of the architecture agreed at Cancun talks in 2010, and a multi-track approach in which countries can choose among different tracks.

Meanwhile, a report tracking climate action gave major emitters China, the US, the EU and Russia “inadequate” ratings for their plans to limit global warming to an agreed UN ceiling of 2 degrees Celsuis above pre-industrial times, Reuters reported. The Climate Action Tracker report said that taking into account all national pledges and rising emissions, the world is headed for a warming of about 3.3 degrees Celsius.

While other top emitters are on course to at least meet their promised curbs in emissions by 2020, the US is not likely to meet its pledge, Niklas Hoehne of research group Ecofys told Reuters. Ecofys compiles the tracker with Climate Analytics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The US has a target of cutting emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, confirmed by President Barack Obama at the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen in 2009.

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