U.N. Warns ‘Door’ is ‘About to Close’ on Halting 2-degree Celsius Rise in Global Temperature

May 25, 2012 - 6:11 PM

Arctic Climate Change

(AP Photo/John McConnico, File)

(CNSNews.com) – A two-week United Nations gathering in Bonn, Germany focusing on climate change ended on Friday with a warning that global warming will continue to be a threat without a legally binding international treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions -- and unless rich nations donate billions of dollars to the cause.

Christina Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, on Friday repeated a warning issued earlier in the week by the International Energy Agency (of which the United States is a member) that said “the door to avoiding a maximum 2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise is about to close.”

The U.N. announced the “progress” made at the Bonn meeting -- held in advance of the next major U.N. climate change summit in November in Doha – that could help halt the global temperature increase.

That progress includes producing a legally binding climate change treaty to replace the non-binding Kyoto Protocol treaty, which expires at the end of the year and was not signed by the United States when it was produced in 1997. The “Doha Amendment” would be adopted in 2015 and take effect in 2020.

In a rare consensus in Bonn, the 180 participating countries, including the United States, agreed to establish a working group to craft the new treaty, but no one was named to head the group.

A U.N. press release also touted the Green Climate Fund, which was established to transfer money from rich countries to poor nations to help them “in the urgent task of building their own sustainable and climate-resilient futures.” The goal is for donor countries,  including the United States, to contribute $100 billion to the fund by 2020.

Figueres also called on governments to work on climate change issues ahead of the Doha meeting.

climate

(AP Photo)

"Ministers can also take every opportunity with their governments and each other to resolve the outstanding high-level political issues that will deliver the next, successful step, in Doha," Figueres said.

Not everyone agrees on the “progress” Figueres described, however. According to The Guardian, India and China want to stall the treaty process.

Also, only countries in the European Union apparently are in favor of extending the Kyoto Protocol. Canada and Japan have backed out and the United States never signed onto the original treaty.

The Guardian reported that Tove Maria Ryding, coordinator for climate policy at Greenpeace International, was frustrated by events in Bonn.

“Here in Bonn we've clearly seen that the climate crisis is not caused by lack of options and solutions, but lack of political action,” Ryding said. “It’s absurd to watch governments sit and point fingers and fight like little kids while the scientists explain about the terrifying impacts of climate change and the fact that we have all the technology we need to solve the problem while creating new green jobs."