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Yvo De Boer: Copenhagen Climate Accord Deadline Is Flexible

January 31, 2010

Yvo De Boer, UNFCCC Secretariat

By Alex Morales, originally published at Businessweek.com

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) — The Jan. 31 deadline for countries to sign onto the Copenhagen Accord climate-change agreement that was brokered last month is flexible, United Nations climate chief Yvo De Boer said.

“I think you could describe it as a soft deadline,” de Boer said today on a Webcast from Bonn. “There’s nothing deadly about it. If you fail to meet it, you can still associate with the accord afterwards.”

The Copenhagen Accord was crafted by the U.S., China and two dozen other countries on the sidelines of a two-week UN climate summit in the Danish capital that was beset by walkouts and squabbles between developed and developing nations.

The accord called for countries to indicate their support by the end of this month. As of yesterday, nine of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 193 members had done so formally, a UN spokesman said. Most of the countries who agreed to the deal in Denmark have yet to do so, according to the UN.

Countries have been asked to “associate” themselves with the accord, which is “an important tool to advance the negotiations,” de Boer said. “Countries are not being asked to sign the accord, they’re not being asked to take on a legally binding target; they will not be bound to the action which they submit to the secretariat.”

De Boer said the deadline is to enable him to meet internal requirements to produce a report on the Copenhagen meeting and that countries can indicate whether they support the agreement and their own targets later.

‘Living Document’

“I very much see the accord as a living document that tracks actions that countries want to take,” de Boer said.

Under the deal, countries will aim to keep the global rise in temperatures since industrialization in the 1800s to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Industrialized nations can submit greenhouse-gas reduction targets for inclusion in an appendix and developing nations can spell out in a separate annex actions they intend to take to limit their own emissions.

Australia, Canada, France, Ghana, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea, Serbia, Singapore and Turkey have notified the UNFCCC that they want to be “associated” with the accord while Cuba has rejected it, the UN spokesman said yesterday.

De Boer said the document will be an “important tool” to advance the formal UN negotiations, which countries “want to reach a conclusion” at another meeting in Mexico at the end of the year.

“Copenhagen didn’t produce the final cake but it left countries with all the right ingredients to bake a new one in Mexico,” de Boer said. Even so, it isn’t clear whether the outcome in Mexico will be a legally binding treaty, he said.

–Editor: Randall Hackley

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at +44-20-7330-7718 or amorales2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Todd White at +34-91-700-9604 or twhite2@bloomberg.net

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 19, 2010 6:25 am

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