* Public concern over changing weather may spur talks
* Wider economic recovery among conditions for more action
(For other news from the Reuters Global Energy and Climate
Summit, click here)
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent
BONN, Germany, June 13 Wider public unease about
climate change and stronger economic growth are likely to be
needed to revive sluggish U.N. talks after hopes for quick
agreement on a treaty have fizzled, experts say.
Many nations at U.N. talks in Bonn from June 6-17 seem
resigned to a long haul -- more like arms reduction talks or
U.N. trade negotiations -- after failure to agree a binding U.N.
climate deal by an end-2009 deadline at a summit in Copenhagen.
"Public awareness is really going to be the key," to spur a
deal to avert heatwaves, droughts, floods and rising seas, said
Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists.
He told the Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit that he
believed many people, including in the United States, were
"gradually getting more concerned about the realities of climate
change", partly because of extreme weather.
In 2010, about 42 million people were displaced from their
homes by natural disasters led by floods in China and Pakistan.
[ID:nLDE75518G]. Parts of the United States have been hit by the
worst drought since the 1930s Dust Bowl.
Pachauri declined to predict when a deal could be reached.
Some experts say it could be years away, or out of reach.
Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental
Economics Programme, said it was wrong to expect a breakthrough
treaty to solve climate change. He said a stronger economy was
among important factors to allow slow, step-by-step action.
"With climate change we are in the position that the
countries of the world were in at Bretton Woods after World War
Two," he said of the conference that paved the way to reshaping
the world economy.
"This is as difficult a problem," he said.
For more on the Reuters Global Climate and Energy Summit, see
"I suspect we are looking at small steps rather than big
strides at this stage," Britain's Energy Minister Charles Hendry
told the Summit of the outlook for the next climate talks in
Durban, South Africa in late 2011.
Among positive spurs to action, Hendry pointed to China, the
top greenhouse gas emitter ahead of the United States.
"A few years ago we had seen China as a real block to
progress. Now without any doubt it wants to be one of the world
leaders on green technologies. That is changing the approach
they take," he said.
Developing nations, however, insist on a deal in Durban to
extend the Kyoto Protocol that obliges almost 40 developed
nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent below
1990 levels over the period 2008-12.
"We have an international agreement, we are all obliged to
fulfil it," said Pablo Solon, who leads Bolivia's delegation.
Kyoto nations Japan, Russia and Canada say they will not
agree to new cuts beyond 2012 -- despite past promises. They say
that a wider deal is now needed for all nations since Kyoto
backers account for less than 30 percent of world emissions.
A complication is that the United States never signed up for
Kyoto, arguing it would cost jobs and wrongly excluded binding
targets for emerging countries.
Many developed nations want the Durban talks to build on a
deal from Mexico in late 2010 to set up a green climate fund and
limit any rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6
F) above pre-industrial times.
In Bonn, even the European Union, the main cheerleader among
developed nations for a quick binding deal, has conceded that
2014-15 is now "broadly realistic" as a date for a broad deal.
Some experts say that action may have to wait for the next
U.N. report on climate science, due in 2013-14 by Pachauri's
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The last IPCC report in 2007 -- saying it was at least 90
percent certain that humankind was causing global warming --
helped spur environment ministers at talks in 2007 to set a
two-year deadline for a deal. The Copenhagen summit fell short.
"The last IPCC report has probably exhausted its driving
force," said Elliot Diringer, of the Pew Center on Global
Climate Change, a Washington think-tank.
"Many people are looking for the next report. We need the
global economy to continue to improve as well," he said. "And I
do think there is a growing sense that something is amiss with
Meanwhile, the problem is getting worse. The International
Energy Agency said last month that world emissions of carbon
dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities, rose 5.9
percent in 2010 to a record high. [ID:nN30251852]
(With extra reporting by Nina Chestney and Gerard Wynn in
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