No progress in PoznaÅ” on new emission cuts

UN climate talks in PoznaÅ”, Poland, last week failed to make progress on the development of new greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for developed countries.

The two-week meeting closed on Saturday after a high-level ministerial segment. Observers had low expectations of a resolution as the conference entered its final stages on Friday night, and these proved well-founded – there were no last-minute surprises.

PoznaÅ” marked the halfway point in talks to agree a new global climate accord. Negotiations were launched in Bali last year and are set to be concluded in Copenhagen next December.

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The secretariat of the UN framework convention on climate change (Unfccc) said the meeting's main success was "a clear commitment from governments to shift into full negotiating mode next year". This commitment came with a work plan for 2009.

A second, more tangible, achievement was to make fully functional an adaptation fund for developing countries. The final sticking point was whether developing countries should have direct access to the fund. It was decided that they would.

Ministers could not agree, however, on whether to raise new adaptation funds by extending an existing levy of two per cent levy on transactions under the clean development mechanism (CDM) to Kyoto's other trading mechanisms.

Ministers did approve small improvements to the CDM. More substantial changes, including an appeals procedure for project developers whose proposals have been rejected, were postponed until next year.

Agreement also proved elusive on including carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the CDM, on enhancing its regional distribution, and on extending eligibility criteria for afforestation and reforestation projects.

The only progress on the issue of technology transfer was an agreement to promote it with ┬50m of existing resources from the Global environment facility (GEF), a fund that supports environment projects in developing countries.

Meanwhile, also on Friday, a group of developed and developing countries led by the UK issued a joint ministerial declaration in PoznaÅ” committing themselves to early action on cutting carbon emission releases from deforestation. The European commission endorsed the initiative.

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