Bali meet must spur investment
By Gerard Wynn and Adhityani Arga
BALI (Reuters) - Climate talks launched in Bali on Monday must assure investors of future government backing for climate-friendly energy and building projects, said the host of the meeting, Indonesia's Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar.
The talks in Bali, attended by some 190 countries, will try and lay the foundations for a new climate change deal in time to replace or extend the Kyoto Protocol from 2013.
A key challenge will be to entice business to invest in cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climate change.
Investment is needed, for example, to re-direct the world's energy supply away from high carbon-emitting fossil fuels to cleaner sources. But that requires a new policy regime of carrots and sticks.
"The market is a key part of our effort against climate change," Witoelar told the opening session of the two-week conference.
"The market demands the certainty and predictability we need to offer them. We need to enhance our investments in technology. There are clean technologies available. There's lots of best practice."
Governments hope the Bali talks will set the platform for future agreement by 2009 on specific climate targets or policies, country by country, to succeed existing Kyoto Protocol commitments, which are considered too weak.
For example Kyoto has created a carbon market that last year directed $5 billion investment into cutting greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries.
That compares with a needed $200 billion invested annually by 2030, nearly half of that in developing countries, according to a U.N. report published in October.
"There are potential solutions on the scale needed, but they require international negotiation," the U.N. report's lead author, Erik Haites, told a side event in Bali on Monday.
For example, Kyoto only runs until 2012, but investors in big energy projects need to plan returns over 20 years.
Government officials in Bali agreed that clean energy investment was key to the fight against climate change.
"We need to accelerate... technologies that can fundamentally alter (how) we use energy," U.S. delegation head Harlan Watson said, citing biofuels, renewable power and technology to bury greenhouse gases underground.
The European Commission's head of climate change, Artur Runge-Metzger, said: "The development of clean technologies is a centerpiece in the fight against climate change."
The private sector must supply 86 percent of investment needed to help adapt to global warming and cut emissions, the U.N. report said.
The Bali conference will decide which international body runs an adaptation fund that could be worth up to $300 million annually from 2008 to 2012. That compares with adaptation funds of up to $170 billion needed annually by 2030, according to the U.N. report.
(Editing by Bill Tarrant)