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Dec 02, 2008

Low-carbon push must take account of development needs, SA argues

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Dialogue between countries participating in the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference being held in Poznan, Poland, would "lay the basis" for serious climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, in 2009, South Africa's Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk asserted on Tuesday.

The 192 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the 183 parties to the Kyoto Protocol, were participating in a two-week meeting considered to be the halfway mark in the negotiations of an international response to climate change.

"To secure a deal at the end of 2009 in Copenhagen, we must outline a clear process and milestones for both negotiating tracks under the Bali Roadmap," Van Schalkwyk said in a statement.

He said that countries had to bring new focus to the negotiations by revising the text that assembled all the creative proposals for a strengthened climate regime up to and beyond 2012.

"This will narrow down our negotiating agenda for next year to the key issues that must be resolved," he commented.

Further, he noted that a declaration by the conference of parties president would have to include a number of elements in relation to a "shared vision".

Van Schalkwyk said this declaration had to guide countries' efforts and had to balance climate change development, adaptation and mitigation.

"A recognition that solving the climate problem and making the transition to a low carbon economy will only be possible if any solution is undertaken with development priorities at its heart," he stated.

In addition, he said that the declaration would have to give a "clear political signal" that climate negotiations would intensify despite the global economic downturn.

Meanwhile, Van Schalkwyk said that Kyoto-ratifying developed countries should adopt an emission reduction range of between 25% and 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
He noted that Japan, Russia, Australia and Canada would also have to participate in reducing its carbon emissions at these levels.

"From the US we expect comparability of commitments and compliance. In 2009, we will be looking to the US to come forward with ambitious commitments that will keep the world in the intergovernmental panel on climate change's most ambitious stabilisation scenario for 2020," said Van Schalkwyk, who also welcomed President-elect Barack Obama's commitment to restore America's leadership in international global warming negotiations.


Edited by: Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
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