Spirit of Co-operation Weakens in Bangkok

The United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Bangkok (April 4-8) are breaking down. The first climate talks of 2011 have brought about a feud between developed and developing nations in the process of trying to agree on a deal.

The conference in Bangkok had the modest goal of setting the agenda for negotiations in 2011, and a result had still not been produced in the final day of the meeting. The disagreement stems from developing countries pushing for more focus on what they can do to battle climate change (adaptation) rather than the developed nations’ actions on mitigation.

These talks show that the spirit of cooperation and multilateral negotiations which led to breakthroughs at the Conference of the Parties 16 in Cancun in 2010, has wakened. A stalemate and potential lack of agreement in Bangkok could mean taking several steps back in the negotiation process which should eventually lead to a global, comprehensive deal on tackling climate change.

In the course of negotiations, the developing countries demanded that developed nations take serious action on agreeing a cut-down in greenhouse gas emissions under a revised Kyoto Protocol. Japan blocked an extension of the protocol in Cancun, and the USA and China have now stated that they will not sign up for an extension to it. Developed nations, on the other hand, have been pushing for this year’s agenda to focus on implementing the Cancun agreement.

On the final day of talks in Bangkok, nothing is certain. If another Cancun-style breakthrough is made, then negotiations can move forward and perhaps provide a solid basis for the CoP 17 in Durban in December 2011. However, the lack of progress shows the reluctance of parties to make concessions and accept further multilateral talks.

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