Bali global warming draft gets US nod for faster action

Bali global warming draft gets US nod for faster action

London: American officials are planning to back a new United Nations document that says governments and businesses will have to spend billions of dollars a year to reduce global warming and adapt to the effects of the phenomenon.

The report will be discussed this week at a meeting of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the group of scientists producing the most detailed study yet on global warming. The group’s recommendation will guide talks in Bali, Indonesia, in December of the UN body charged with writing a successor to the Kyoto Protocol—an international accord that set carbon gas emission limits for some countries. By agreeing with the draft document, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg, the US is indicating a need for faster action to slow climate change. As the largest emitter of gases blamed for global warming, the US is viewed by other nations as critical to the creation of a new worldwide response when the Kyoto agreement expires in 2012.

“We haven’t seen any problems in the drafts that we’ve seen," said John Marburger, director of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, DC in a telephone interview. “But it depends on what happens at the meetings."

The final report will condense data from three IPCC documents released in the past year detailing the warming that has occurred, forecasting the climate change’s future effects, and outlining technologies that may reduce the temperature rise.

Sophie Schlingemann, a spokesperson for the Geneva-based IPCC, declined comment on the content of the report, saying the draft was for delegates to see in preparation for meetings this week and not for the press. The draft is on the IPCC website accessible to delegates.

“We’re pretty comfortable with the way the summaries for policymakers have construed the underlying reports in the three previous products," Marburger said. He confirmed the draft report’s contents. US President George W. Bush’s administration has rejected the mandatory caps on gases that form the basis of the Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997. The treaty binds 35 nations and the European Union to cut collective emissions by 5.2% from 1990 levels by 2012.

One clause in the draft that may be debated by delegates in Spain says that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol treaty have made “notable achievements" in efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

“There is high agreement and much evidence that notable achievements of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol are the establishment of a global response to climate change, stimulation of an array of national policies, and the creation of an international carbon market," the draft says.