Door Open for Greater US Role - UN Climate Chief
Author: Andrew Stern
President George W. Bush refused to approve the 1997 Kyoto
Protocol that set targets for emissions reductions in part
because developing countries were not included.
But the situation has changed over the past year, said Yvo
de Boer, head of the UN's Framework Convention on Climate
Addressing two Chicago business groups, de Boer cited US$25
billion worth of investments in developing countries that will
ultimately qualify as emissions credits. Those credits can then
be sold into the expanding but still decentralized carbon
"I think there is a growing sense that large developing
countries like China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, are
willing to engage further in the next (negotiating) round," he
said in an interview at the Chicago Climate Exchange.
"I'm more and more confident about that. Part of the
challenge is to differentiate a little bit more from the
current black and white world -- some countries have binding
targets and some don't -- towards a more varied approach that
allows you to tailor different kinds of commitments," he said.
"Perhaps you could think of quantified targets for some,
relative targets to others, bringing certain parts of the
economy under cap and trade, a fourth might be an aspirational
goal to, say, have 'X' percent renewables in place, so you have
a more varied approach," he added.
Cap and trade is the market-based approach favored by the
Chicago Climate Exchange, in which its members agree to
gradually reduce their emissions and can either buy or sell
credits as needed to meet their targets.
De Boer urged industrialized nations including the United
States to take a leading role in upcoming climate talks in
December in Bali, Indonesia.
"On the short road to Bali, I think we have a unique moment
in time: the scientific message we've been given is clear, we
know we have the tools at our disposal to address this problem
in an affordable way, the only minor little detail we're
lacking at the moment is political will. This is the time to
show it," he said.