Bloomberg - 1 Dec 08

Prof. Robert B. Laughlin
Department of Physics
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305
(Copied 30 Dec 08)

Expectations Are 'Low' for Climate Agreement, Germany Says

By Jeremy van Loon
Bloomberg, 1 Dec 08

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- United Nations talks that began today to devise a new global-warming treaty for limiting carbon- dioxide emissions probably won't yield concrete results, German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

Delegates from 190 nations are meeting in Poznan, Poland, to negotiate a new treaty to curb climate change. Proposals for successor to the Kyoto Protocol treaty will be debated at the conference, which runs Dec. 1-12, with a final agreement planned to be signed in Copenhagen a year from now.

Many countries will hold back from making commitments because there is still a year to go before a final agreement must be reached," he said today at a briefing in Berlin.

Delegates at the UN-sponsored talks need to establish a plan that will see global emissions peak by 2015 and drop "dramatically" afterward, Greenpeace proposed today in an emailed statement at the start of the conference.

Without an agreement, "literally millions of lives are at risk, along with devastating economic consequences and species extinction," Greenpeace added.

The 27-member European Union is probably the only region that will make a legally binding target on cutting CO2 output that will coincide with the Poznan conference, Gabriel said.

EU leaders plan to meet in Brussels next week to hammer out details of a proposal that will cut emissions of the greenhouse gas by 20 percent by 2020.