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A new round of climate negotiations takes place in Bonn

Rashid Alimov

A new regular session of climate negotiations began in Bonn, Germany, on Monday. Representatives of 182 countries - members of the UN participate in the session, which is to last until Friday, June 11.

Currently, the world's emissions of greenhouse gases are regulated by the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in late 2012.

It was expected that the new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol would be adopted at the UN conference in Copenhagen in December last year, but then the parties could not reach an agreement, and issued Copenhagen Accord, actually a joint non-binding declaration.

Even if such an agreement is signed at a conference in Cancun (Mexico) in December this year, its ratification by all the participating countries may take significant time.

Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Change secretariat Yvo de Boer, whom many observers blame for the failure of the Copenhagen conference, announced his resignation, which is happen after completion the Bonn session.

Currently, the national goals for reducing emissions, national statements after the conference in Copenhagen, are insufficient and do not ensure retention of global warming under two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , increasing the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere for more than two degrees may make global warming irreversible.

In Bonn, it is planned to discuss measures to protect forests and endangered species, as well as new conditions in the global sales of quotas for greenhouse gas emissions.

Another topic is help to poor countries to adapt to climate change: the industrialized countries (listed in Annex A of the Kyoto Protocol) promised in Copenhagen to assist the developing countries with $ 30 billion in 2010-2012 to fight climate change. Over the past six months, there were statements about funds allocation by the EU ($ 7.5 billion), United States ($ 1.9 billion), Japan ($ 1.5 billion), but the money were taken from existing funds for developing countries assistance or linked to existing programs, being actually not the new funds, as it was decided in Copenhagen. It is also unclear how the Copenhagen goal of an annual allocation of $ 100 billion by 2020 may be achieved.

At this point, the US position remains unclear: currently the US do not participate in the Kyoto Protocol - but their future decisions could seriously affect the position of other countries and their willingness to join to a new international climate agreement.

Russian Socio-Ecological Union believes that Russia could and must assume a leading role in the negotiations. In Copenhagen, Russia declared its readiness to cut emissions by 15-25% compared to the 1990 level, preconditioned that the future agreement addresses the role of Russian forests in reducing emissions. In fact, these commitments mean an increase in emissions: before the world financial crisis, in 2007, Russian emissions were 35% less in comparison to the 1990 level. It is obvious that, with appropriate political will to reduce emissions and the development of high-tech and energy effective industries, Russia is capable of much greater reduction of its share of global emissions of greenhouse gases.