Honolulu, Hawaii: Representatives from the world’s biggest polluters are holding talks in Hawaii to kick-off efforts to meet next year’s deadline for crafting a new international global warming agreement.
The US-hosted major economies meeting in Honolulu brings together delegates from 16 countries accounting for more than 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The closed-door negotiations, which began on Thursday, are intended to boost United Nations’ (UN) efforts to reach a new climate change accord by next year to replace the emission-limiting Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012.
“The work ahead of us needs to be driven by a shared vision,” Yvo de Boer, the chief UN climate negotiator, said before the talks began. “That shared global vision is only going to be achieved if developed and developing countries take action to limit their emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.”
The US, the only industrialized nation to reject the Kyoto Protocol, has resisted mandatory emissions cuts sought by European and other countries, in part because developing nations such as China and India wouldn’t be subject to the same controls.
Representatives from the European Union (EU), the UN, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the UK are attending the two-day meeting. The first major economies meeting was held in Washington in September.
Halldor Thorgeirsson, director of sustainable development mechanisms for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that the Hawaii meetings won’t produce concrete agreements, but will instead inform future negotiations involving all UN nations.
Matthias Machnig, the German state secretary in the ministry for environment, said though no agreements were reached on Thursday, he was pleased that talks focused on technology cooperation and setting emission-reduction targets for 2020 and 2050.
C. Boyden Gray, special US envoy to the EU, said the smaller setting with 16 countries makes it easier to negotiate positions.