'Ice broken' at climate meet: German minister

4th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The highest level political gathering on climate since the Copenhagen summit collapsed in near failure has repaired damage and restored some measure of trust, the German environment minister said Tuesday.

"The ice is broken," Norbert Roettgen told journalists as the two-and-a-half day brainstorming session outside Bonn entered its final stretch.

"We succeeded in having a constructive, trust-building atmosphere. It is hard to over-estimate the importance of this."

Side-stepping some of the major political land mines that derailed talks in the Danish capital, ministers and top negotiators here have zeroed in on what will become the concrete building blocks of any future global climate deal.

These include mechanisms for the measuring, reporting and verification -- known as MRV -- of pledges to cut greenhouse gases, the disbursement of short-term financing to poor countries bracing for the climate change impacts, and figuring out how to create incentives to halt deforestation.

"We have reached consensus on forest protection, and there are good perspectives for consensus on technology transfer -- a result is possible, at least in Cancun," Roettgen said, referring to UN climate conference that will start in late November in the Mexican resort town.

Roettgen added that talks on strengthening carbon markets "were better than expected," even if some states had "ideological problems" with them.

After the huge disappointment of Copenhagen, ministers here have trod a fine line between aiming too high or too low for Cancun and beyond.

A highly polarised debate on what kind of legally binding treaty might emerge from the troubled UN talks has given way instead to a "building blocks" approach.

"Copenhagen was a reality check," said Jose Romero, Switzerland's top climate negotiator and a veteran of UN climate talks.

"We are going to focus on substance, we want consensus the substantive measures before talking about the agreement itself," he told AFP.

On Monday, outgoing UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said a "good outcome" in Cancun would be "an operational architecture on climate change."

"How can we make action work on adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, capacity building and forests?

"Answer this, and then I think we would be in a position to decide if that should be turned into a treaty," he said.

The so-called Petersberg Climate Dialogue outside Bonn ends Tuesday.

© 2010 AFP

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