Bangkok talks: less paper, more problems | WWF
Bangkok talks: less paper, more problems

Posted on 09 October 2009

Delegates who just ended a long and difficult session of climate negotiations in Bangkok made some technical progress but lack of a political mandate and backing from their capitals prevented the kind of breakthrough needed to significantly advance an agreement.
Bangkok - Delegates who just ended a long and difficult session of climate negotiations in Bangkok made some technical progress but lack of a political mandate and backing from their capitals prevented the kind of breakthrough needed to significantly advance an agreement.

According to WWF, negotiators worked hard to get through hundreds of pages of draft text, and they managed to cut it roughly in half. However, they could not move forward on most significant issues such as finance commitments and institutions, emission reduction targets and the legal nature of the actual outcome of the process.

“After this session the text is shorter, but not much sweeter”, said Kim Carstensen, the leader of WWFs Global Climate Initiative.

“We know more clearly where the political stumbling blocks are, and we know that leaders rather than negotiators need to fix them. We therefore call on Heads of State to meet again before the climate talks culminate in Copenhagen in December,” said Carstensen.

“With only five negotiation days left ahead of Copenhagen, we can’t afford to waste time on missing mandates. It is absolutely necessary that negotiators bring new and clear political instructions with them when they meet next month in Barcelona”

The crisis in Bangkok around the future of the Kyoto Protocol and perceived attempts by some developed nations to “kill” it require responsible political action from all sides.

“Suggestions that we can do without the Kyoto Protocol and replace it with an entirely new instrument are unproductive at this point. It will take too long, we have no way of knowing what we will get, and it is very likely that the process will just lead to a prolonged race to the bottom”, said Carstensen.

The Bangkok session has shown that while the lack of a bill from the United States Senate still remains a major obstacle to progress in the talks, we now see worrying signs of blocking from the European Union which has been unable to show leadership and clear ambition.

“The lack of a bill in the U.S. senate is certainly an elephant in the room. But, we no longer have just one elephant, we have several. Now we need to equip this herd with wings to make them fly”, said Carstensen.

“Without clear positions on finance and institutions, the EU can no longer be called the leader of the climate negotiations and its leading position is dropping from day to day. The European Council in late October presents the next obvious opportunity to rectify this.”

Climate talks in bangkok
Climate talks in bangkok.
© David Woodfall / WWF-UK