UN publishes draft climate texts

The United Nations took a step towards a new, post-2012 climate treaty by publishing the first draft negotiating texts to help bridge a “great gulf” between options for rich nations to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions, Reuters reported. Two documents totalling 68 pages also laid out choices on nuclear power, emissions trading, forests, shipping or aviation, and other issues.

John Ashe, Antigua and Barbuda’s UN ambassador, compiled the texts as head of a group looking at future cuts in emissions by rich nations. “This is intended to move the negotiating process forward,” he told Reuters, noting: “There is a great gulf between the various numbers presented by parties. It won’t be possible to please everyone. Everyone will be unhappy with the outcome in Copenhagen [in December], but my hope is that what comes out will be good for the planet.” 

A separate UN text, ranging from 2050 targets for world emissions to possible actions by developing nations led by China and India, is to be published this week. All texts will be discussed at the next UN climate talks in Bonn beginning on June 1. 

“The texts will provide governments with the basis to get down to the real nitty-gritty of identifying where they agree, where they disagree and what they can do to turn disagreement into an agreement,” Yvo de Boer, head of the UN climate change secretariat, told Reuters. 

The documents outline possible ways of widening a scheme that allows developed nations to claim carbon-trading credits from green investments in poor countries. Some countries would like to see such credits expanded to nuclear power plants or to carbon capture and storage projects, while others strongly disagree. The texts also lay out options on how to account for forestry or land-use changes in developed nations, as well as European Union proposals to add international shipping or aviation to carbon-trading schemes. 

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