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Bangkok meet to push for new Kyoto Protocol


April 1, 2008

Bangkok meet to push for new Kyoto Protocol

Delegates from more than 160 countries converged in Bangkok Monday for a five-day meeting in a continuing effort to control the increasing threat of global warming.

"The world is waiting for a solution that is long-term and economically viable," said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told delegates in a video address.

The latest climate change talks at the UN's Asian regional headquarters were the first after an agreement was reached in Bali in December to draw up a new pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012.

While it has been agreed that emissions need to be reduced and the deadline for reaching a new accord set at the end of 2009, developed and developing countries, including the United States, remain divided on how to go about it.

The new pact, if agreed upon, will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which only binds 37 rich nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by an average of five percent from 1990 levels by 2012.

"For many of us in the Asia Pacific, climate change is no longer a distant threat," said Noeleen Heyzer, Under Secretary United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), at the opening ceremony.

"It is a reality and a sign of what lies ahead. For many of our Pacific island states, it is a looming question of their survival or extinction."

Floods and worsening storm are, according to scientists, almost certain to become more severe and extensive by mid-century, he warned. 

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