Yvo de Boer is a worried man. As chief of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), he is leading the global climate change negotiations. The concluding session in Copenhagen is less than six weeks away and the major issues are still unresolved. In his own words, the summit would succeed only if there is a clarity on four major issues. These include greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for industrialised countries, action plans of major developing countries like China and India to limit the growth of their emissions, provision of financial support by industrialised countries to developing countries to undertake adaptation and mitigation measures, and an institutional framework for leading global action on climate change. If any one of these issues remains unresolved, the summit would be a failure because all these issues have a bearing on one another. He spoke to FE’s Rajiv Tikoo during his recent visit to India. Excerpts:
Given the state of negotiations and the time constraint, is it realistically possible to achieve a robust agreement in Copenhagen?
I am not a prophet. It’s very difficult for me to say. We do have the architecture under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. So, I believe it’s technically possible to get an agreement finalised in Copenhagen. The problem is not the technical issue. The problem is the political will.
What is the biggest issue in achieving a deal?
The emission reduction targets announced by developed countries are not ambitious enough. But fixing targets is a relatively simple job. For example, getting the US, which has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, on board is a more complicated process.
What about financing? Isn’t lack of progress a big cause of concern?
Earlier, there were many countries that thought financing could be resolved at the end. But is no longer so. It’s not a question of signing cheques. Developing countries want to have the confidence that the money would be put on the table. Many countries, including the EU, have already come forward.
UNFCCC’s Adaptation Fund has not taken off till now. Developing countries say that rich countries prefer to channel money through World Bank’s climate funds because they can control them better. How are you going to resolve the issue?
The Adaptation Fund is a new fund and has not taken off. We expect it to be fully operational before the Copenhagen summit. It’s financed by