(Poznań, 1 December 2008) – The United Nations Climate Change Conference - Poznań, Poland started Monday, 1 December. The two-week meeting, the fourteenth Conference of the 192 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the fourth meeting of the 183 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, is the half-way mark in the negotiations on an ambitious and effective international response to climate change. The deal is to be clinched in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 and will take effect in 2013, the year after the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires.
Close to eleven thousand participants, including government delegates from 186 Parties to the UNFCCC and representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions, are attending the two-week gathering.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, opening the meeting, pointed to the urgent need for progress at Poznań. “Scientists share the view that warming in excess of two degrees Celsius will result in irreversible changes to nearly all ecosystems and the human communities.
Professor Maciej Nowicki, Polish Minister of the Environment and President of the Conference, warned that the planet had reached the limits of its confined system and that a business as usual scenario was not an option. “Huge droughts and floods, cyclones with increasingly more destructive power, tropical disease pandemics, a dramatic decline of biodiversity – all these can cause social or even armed conflicts and migration of populations at an unprecedented scale,” he warned.
In Poland, delegates – including Ministers – will discuss their vision for long-term cooperative action on climate change. Poznań is the first time that Ministers will discuss a “shared vision for long-term cooperative action”. One of the key questions will be what kind of mechanisms need to be put in place to deliver on finance, technology and capacity building to help developing countries curb emissions, spur green growth and to cope with the inevitable impacts of climate change. During 2008, Parties submitted proposals and ideas for stronger climate change action. The more than 700 pages of proposals have been distilled into a single document of 82 pages, which governments can now refine further in light of what they want to negotiate in 2009.