Major negotiations for new UN climate change pact kick off in Germany

The first round of United Nations-backed negotiations designed to culminate in an ambitious new international climate change treaty in Copenhagen in December got underway today.
The UN News Centre says more than 2000 delegates from government, business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions, have gathered in Bonn, Germany, for the first of a series of three sessions aimed at producing a draft document to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period to reducing greenhouse gas emissions ends in 2012.
“This first negotiating session this year is critical for moving the world closer to a political solution to climate change,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“The clock is ticking down and countries still have much work to cover,” stressed De Boer at the start of the nine-day meeting.
Discussions on greenhouse gas emissions reductions to be achieved by industrialized countries after 2012 will centre on issues relating to the scale of the reductions, improvements to emissions trading and the Kyoto Protocol”s carbon offset mechanisms, as well as concerns relating to land-use change and forestry.
“Industrialized countries are committed to lead the way, and the world is looking to them to agree on ambitious targets, in line with what science is telling us, in Copenhagen in December,” said Harald Dovland, who chairs the working group leading the negotiations.
“We must lay the groundwork for this in Bonn at this session by shifting gears and moving into serious, in-depth negotiations,” he added.