Merkel pushes for binding agreements at Berlin climate talks
By Spencer Kimball
With the Kyoto Protocol set to expire in 2012, Germany hopes to revive climate talks ahead of a UN summit in South Africa this year. Representatives from 35 countries met in Berlin on Sunday to hash out compromises.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a binding agreement between the world’s industrialized economies in order to ensure that the world’s temperature does not rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) during the 21st century.
“We are determined to move forward boldly,” the German chancellor said Sunday in Berlin at a meeting of representatives from 35 countries to make preparations for the next climate summit in Durban, South Africa. The summit in Durban is scheduled to kick off November 28.
Mitigating climate change will be “very expensive and very cumbersome,” Merkel said, adding, however, that inaction would “certainly be more expensive.”
The Berlin meeting came after a fruitless two-week conference on climate change in Bonn, Germany, in June that was attended by most UN member states. During a UN summit last year in Cancun, Mexico, the world community agreed to prevent global warming from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, little progress has been made toward concretely implementing this goal. With the Kyoto Protocol set to expire in 2012, the pressure is on to make headway toward a new international climate change agreement during the summit in Durban.
Germany’s environment minister, Norbert Röttgen, warned that a failure to seriously address global warming would jeopardize global peace and stability.
“Before us stands a world in which hunger and poverty will trigger refugee waves, a world in which political extremism will rise, a world of global but also local instability,” Röttgen wrote in the pages of the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Saturday.