Kyoto II climate meeting opens in Thailand

Cross-posted on Reuters

Talks by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to negotiate a replacement to the Kyoto Accord began in Bangkok today with a plea by the Secretary General for unity and a common purpose toward the remediation of climate change.
Three months after the landmark agreement on a road map towards strengthened international action on climate change reached in Bali, Indonesia, the next round of negotiations shifts to the neighbouring country of Thailand and its capital, Bangkok. The talks are taking place between 31 March to 4 April 2008 at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. [webcast]
"The world is waiting for a solution that is long-term and economically viable," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said in a video address to the 1,000 delegates from 190 nations gathered in Bangkok.

The previously unscheduled (by the UNFCCC) week-long meeting is the result of an agreement that was reached in the last moments of the Bali Climate Change Summit last December, after pressure was put upon the United States to
participate in the process.

"Following a speech by the representative of Papua New Guinea, where he called upon the United States to: 'lead, follow or get out of the way:'

The United States made a dramatic reversal Saturday, first rejecting and then accepting a compromise to set the stage for intense negotiations in the next two years aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. The final result was a global warming pact that provides for negotiating rounds to conclude in 2009."
"It's the first test of whether the goodwill and good intentions that were present in Bali are still there when they get down to the hard negotiations," said Angela Anderson of the Pew Environment Group.
No policies or decisions are expected from the Bangkok conference, something that is of concern to environmentalists who see events like the sudden collapse of the Antarctic Ice Shelf last week and raise the question as to the actual status of climate tipping points.

Others point to the purpose of the conference; to identify negotiating points to be addressed at the next meeting in Poland, scheduled for December 2008, leading up to an agreement to be ratified at a final U.N. Copenhagen Climate Change Summit at the end of 2009.

This timing is critical to a global business community that will need to know regulations and requirements prior to the expiration of the Kyoto Accord in 2012, at which point, a new Washington administration, whichever candidate wins in 2008, is expected to be more amenable to both the fact and to the resolution of climate change.