Best of our wild blogs: 13 Jun 15

Mangrove Action Squad on Ubin Day 2015
Mangrove Action Squad

Creatures of the night
Hantu Blog

10 rare resident bird species in Singapore and where to best find them
Singapore Bird Group

Red-whiskered Bulbul: 5. Nest
Bird Ecology Study Group

Ten Questions with Suhardi, our Converted Shark Fisherman

Article Alert! – Destroyed reefs, vanishing giant clams
Neo Mei Lin

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City mayors pledge to promote liveable, sustainable urban environments

Mayors and leaders from 64 cities commit to policies including providing affordable homes and building accessible transport networks.
Alice Chia Channel NewsAsia 11 Jun 15;

NEW YORK: Mayors and leaders from 64 cities ‎have pledged to promote equitable, liveable and sustainable urban environments.

They issued a declaration at the end of the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum on Wednesday (Jun 10), held this year in New York. It is the first time they have done so in the history of the event, which is now into its sixth edition.

The policies that mayors and city leaders have committed to under the declaration included providing affordable homes and building accessible transport networks.

“Things like looking at planning for the long term, having integrity in governance, providing affordable housing, making sure transport is good, these are all things that we have done, and we see this declaration, in a way, as an affirmation of what we’ve been doing in Singapore, and the fact that it’s being endorsed by these other mayors does show this is the way to go for cities around the world,” said Mr Desmond Lee, Singapore’s Minister of State for National Development.

The declaration will also be submitted to the United Nations (UN). It will help shape the UN’s agenda for its conference on sustainable urban development, to be held next year.

Summing up the takeaways from the three-day forum, Mr Lee pointed out some issues that need to be addressed. These include rapid demographic changes, such as an ageing population, and ensuring inclusive growth.

To address the challenges that cities face, Mr Lee said it is important to think out of the box and make use of advancements in technology. For instance, there could be more partnerships between governments and schools, and more crowd-sourcing initiatives for ground-up solutions.

He cited a case study from the mayor of Bandung. “The mayor of Bandung also shared about his command centre idea. He is very hot about technology and smart cities and really using technology to improve the lives of his people, just as we are looking at technology to improve the lives of Singaporeans,” said Mr Lee.

“He set up a command centre that feeds in data from utility companies, from people who monitor the flood levels, and with that kind of central knowledge and data planning, they’re able to react more quickly to difficulties that occur in any part of his city, and that is something for us - a good takeaway, using data, using technology to improve the lives of our people through faster response in government.”

Mr Lee also encouraged citizens to play a part as their cities evolve, to drive positive change and a greater sense of ownership.

- CNA/xq

New ideas and new ways to run cities
Jeremy Au Yong The Straits Times 13 Jun 15;

In the city of Ahmedabad in India, city officials have been able to tackle some of their transportation issues with a well-run bus rapid transit system, using GPS-enabled buses and dedicated lanes in the middle of the road to replicate the functions of an MRT.

In Kiev, Ukraine, the government is trying to put in place a Wi-Fi network to give Internet access to commuters across all 67.5km of its subway.

Meanwhile in Bandung, Indonesia, officials say a new command centre that includes monitoring social media for municipal problems has sped up their response times.

Innovative solutions to urban planning and municipal problems were a highlight of the World Cities Cities Summit Mayors Forum in New York that wrapped up on Wednesday. The theme of the forum was "Innovative Cities of Opportunity" and there was a clear emphasis on being able to think out of the box to try and find solutions.

But while he lauded the many ground-breaking efforts, Singapore Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee - who chaired the forum - also reminded mayors that innovative thinking did not stop at just trying to harness technology.

Speaking at the close of the summit, he said: "I am heartened to hear that there are more partnerships between city governments and academic institutions to look for new ideas, in tandem with more crowdsourcing of ground-up solutions.

"But in the hot pursuit for new ideas and suggestions, there is also value in pausing and reflecting on how existing systems can be improved or better made use of."

He told reporters later about a discussion mayors had about solving transportation issues where the need to take a step back from the problem came into focus.

During a discussion on increasing the capacity of mass rapid transit, providing cycling paths and improving walkability, the mayor of Medellin, Colombia, asked whether they should also try and make people travel less.

"He just sat there and said, can we look at it from the other angle instead? Let's think about travelling less. For instance, can people telecommute - you work from home instead of travelling to work? Can you change the peak period by shifting the working hours of companies and businesses so you attenuate the peak period crush?

"These are things that Singapore has been looking at as well so that is an affirmation of our approach to look at various angles," he said.

He added that interactions like that were part of the value of the summit to Singapore.

"In as much as Singapore profiles ourselves by sharing our experience with these cities, we are also taking the opportunity to learn from other cities because we must never stop learning from the good points and bad points from other cities."

The summit, which is jointly organised by Singapore's Centre for Livable Cities and Urban Redevelopment Authority, is being held outside Singapore for only the second time.

The New York meeting concluded with a first for the forum, as all the mayors endorsed a declaration outlining principles for building better cities. These include increasing communication between governments and the private sector as well as focusing on long-term plans.

Though the document does not set any binding targets for the leaders, Mr Lee said he hopes it will help guide the conversation on the issue at the United Nations.

He said: "The declaration will be submitted to the United Nations as part of the UN discussion on sustainable development for cities next year and we hope that Singapore can play a role, through this forum, to help shape the international agenda and discussion on sustainable cities."

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Indonesia to adopt greener model for development

Otniel Tamindael Antara 11 Jun 15;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Government of Indonesia, in cooperation with various businesses, is committed to shifting development planning to a greener model in order to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The country is now welcoming the opportunity to shift to infrastructure projects that are cleaner, more sustainable, and inclusive.

"Locking in green infrastructure today can bring benefits for many decades to come. In this endeavor, the developing countries can take the lead in leapfrogging from brown to green growth," Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated during his opening address at the Indonesia Green Infrastructure Summit 2015 held at Fairmont Hotel here on Tuesday.

Hosted by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) and supported by the World Bank Group, the summit also seeks to strengthen partnership between the government and the private sector in implementing green initiatives.

The event also showcases Indonesias efforts to implement a range of green development initiatives across all core growth sectors as part of the medium term development plan from now until 2019.

Kalla noted that Indonesia has enjoyed significant growth, with its GDP doubling in the last decade and poverty reducing to half, down to 11.3 percent in 2014.

However, he added that not all are benefiting from these achievements, and they come at a high price of environmental degradation.

The vice president pointed out that China has shown double-digit growth for decades but has lost a staggering 9 percent of its expected GDP to "brown growth."

In response, he affirmed that China is adopting green policies and shifting its economic activities to innovation and higher value-added production and is currently seeking to be an early mover in the race to implement green production processes.

"Maintaining the growth can reverse the gains to economic growth, as it quickly depletes the natural resources, which leads to greater vulnerability to climate change or associated with health risks," Kalla pointed out.

He stated that environmental degradation affects everyone and hits the poor the hardest, as they are more vulnerable to violent weather and floods, and their livelihood are more fragile.

Further, he stated that the poverty rate in Indonesia is the highest among the families living in environmentally degraded areas.

"So, if there is one major lesson that development experts, policy makers, and institutions - such as the World Bank - have learnt over the last decades is that: If we want to succeed in ending poverty, we cannot rely on growth alone unless it is inclusive and environmentally sustainable," he affirmed.

On the occasion, Kalla also highlighted three areas that are critical to ensuring that future growth is both green and inclusive.

According to Kalla, the first area is that the energy produced by Indonesia must be clean and used efficiently; second, the natural resources must be managed in a responsible manner; and the third is that the country needs good policies, good governance, and leadership that is not afraid to tackle the status quo.

"There are many who fear that green growth is too expensive, could slow output, or should concern only high-income countries, but this fear is short-sighted," Kalla said, adding that sustainable growth is neither unaffordable nor is it technically out of reach.

In the meantime, World Bank Group Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati explained that development with a short-term outlook will be counterproductive and will impact Indonesias growth potential.

"If we want to succeed in ending poverty, we cannot alone rely on growth unless it is inclusive and environmentally sustainable. In simple terms, success will depend on how a country will grow and not just by how much," Mulyani emphasized.

She noted that without changes in near-term priorities, Indonesia risks treading on a path of unsustainable growth and will be constrained by limited opportunities and could face economic stagnation.

According to Mulyani, Indonesia will certainly face challenges to walk on the path of green growth, including the need for huge financing and implementing the right policies.

There is also a pressing need for good governance, which is among the biggest challenges faced by several developing countries.

However, as proven by countries such as South Korea, which has successfully transitioned to a greener economy, the opportunities to succeed still exist.

"This can be an opportunity for green and inclusive growth by addressing the energy needs in sustainable ways, by handling resources responsibly, and by putting governance mechanisms in place that will benefit all Indonesians, including the future generations," Mulyani remarked.

In addition, Kadin Chairman Suryo Bambang Sulisto noted that Kadin is committed to working with the government to achieve "green" and sustainable development goals.

"We in the private sector fully support the development goals for green infrastructure," Suryo pointed out.

He remarked that the challenge to meet the governments infrastructure goals is enormous and will require full partnership and investments from the private sector, domestic and international, as well as the participation of multilateral organizations.

The Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board estimates that the potential for "green" infrastructure for foreign and domestic investors will increase by about 20 percent until the year 2019.

Hence, incentives for "green" development are essential to ensure that the anticipated investment growth will take place.

Policymakers from President Joko Widodos government took part in the conference alongside key industry players from Indonesia and overseas.

The topics discussed included: spatial planning and land use, efforts for 35 thousand megawatts of sustainable power generation, promotion of a "blue" economy and support for Indonesia as a global maritime powerhouse, sustainable infrastructure financing, green public transport options, and the role of state-owned enterprises in implementing green development plans.

According to Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel, the governments infrastructure program will require more than Rp5 trillion, or Rp1.1 trillion a year.

"The partnership between the government and the private sector will encourage foreign investors to invest in Indonesia," he pointed out.

The annual national meeting for Kadins Infrastructure, Environment and Sustainable Development division also took place on the sidelines of the summit, where provincial chapters contributed their views on programs related to infrastructure and environment in the provinces.

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In Tampa Bay, rare environmental win measured in seagrass

Letitia Stein PlanetArk 10 Jun 15;

When Tampa Bay was grappling with repeated fish kills and murky waters two decades ago, the scientists who set out to restore its health by bringing back once-bountiful underwater grasses were doubtful it could be done in their lifetimes.

Yet that mission has now been accomplished. New data show Tampa Bay's seagrasses at levels not seen since the 1950s, before urban development exploded along Florida's west coast and nitrogen pollution of its waters soared.

The rejuvenation of Tampa Bay is hailed as a model for the bays and sounds in other U.S. communities seeking to restore critical coastal habitat under the Clean Water Act, from the Chesapeake Bay in the mid-Atlantic region to San Francisco Bay.

These estuaries, where freshwater from rivers mixes with the salty sea, provide a home or nursery for a wide swath of marine life, including most commercially sold fish.

Experts say the sweeping recovery in Tampa Bay is made more impressive because it appears so far unmatched.

"It shows that you can actually do it," said Rich Batiuk, associate director for science with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program. "Kudos to them for really seeing it through and providing a great shining example."

The clean-up of Florida's largest open-water estuary has been less politically fraught than in the Chesapeake watershed, which has a dense coastal population that spans a half dozen states as well as a deep-rooted farming industry.

Tampa Bay Watch, a nonprofit focused on conservation, highlights the time and money dedicated here to returning the sparkle to the bay's 400 square miles (1,036 square kilometers).

On a recent outing in Tampa Bay, where dolphins playfully leaped, a team of the group's researchers inspected several seagrass beds that were replanted to repair damage by boats.

The water was so clear, small fish could be seen swimming through blades of seagrass.

"Pretty sweet," shouted environmental scientist Eric Plage from the water, where he was measuring the seagrasses. "There's a lot of everything."


A putrid dumping ground by the 1970s, conditions in Tampa Bay inspired residents to petition for a clean up. They asked for clearer water, better fishing and to swim without algae.

Seagrass was seen as the answer. It requires sunlight streaming through the water to grow and thus is an indicator of clarity. Underwater grasses provide a nursery for game fish and creates habitat that anchors their food chain.

"The seagrass has been such a primary focus because it brings in so many aspects," said Holly Greening, executive director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, federally created in 1990 to coordinate the restoration, then in its early phases.

The group set a goal of restoring 38,000 acres of seagrass (15,400 hectares), the quantity observed in aerial photos of Tampa Bay from the 1950s, about half of which had died. That required tackling the nitrogen pollutants chiefly responsible for clouding Tampa Bay's waters to allow the grasses to naturally rebound. Some small areas of seagrass were also replanted.

Ultimately, local governments, utility companies and other industries using the bay invested $500 million in projects that reduced nitrogen pollution, from upgrading sewage treatment plants to generating cleaner electricity.

"Until you really have everybody participating and pulling in the same direction, it's hard to achieve a lot of the accomplishments like they have in Tampa Bay," said Jeff Benoit, president and chief executive of Restore America's Estuaries, an alliance of conservation groups.

In Chesapeake Bay by contrast, pollution caps have been challenged in court by the U.S. farm lobby, and as the legal battle drags on it is not clear if the region will meet the pollution reduction targets set for a 2017 deadline, local experts said.

"If we can't restore the Chesapeake Bay, it doesn't bode well for this country's ability to achieve clean water in the Great Lakes, in the Gulf of Mexico, in San Francisco Bay," said William C. Baker, president of the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

"We may have to admit that Tampa Bay is the only one that did it," he added.

At the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Greening is not yet ready to stand down. She noted the region's population has swelled by more than 1 million people during years in which the grasses were rebounding, and more development is coming.

"It will be a significant challenge moving ahead just to maintain where we are right now," she said.

(Editing by Jill Serjeant and Richard Chang)

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Worldwide study finds high concern about fixing climate change

Alister Doyle PlanetArk 11 Jun 15;

Worldwide study finds high concern about fixing climate change Photo: Jitendra Prakash
A boy catches fish in a dried-up pond near the banks of the Ganges river Allahabad, India, June 4, 2015.
Photo: Jitendra Prakash

Almost 80 percent of people worldwide are perturbed about global warming and most want tough action to fix the problem, according to a new study that the United Nations touted as a spur to an international climate deal later this year.

The report, based on consultations with 10,000 people in 75 nations from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, also showed that 66 percent viewed measures to tackle warming, such as more wind or solar energy, as a chance to improve their quality of life.

Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said the findings were "important proof" of public support in both rich and poor nations for a U.N. deal to limit climate change due to be agreed in Paris in December.

"Action now is necessary," she told a news conference on Wednesday at talks among almost 200 nations in Bonn, Germany, that began on June 1 and will run until Thursday to lay groundwork for a Paris agreement to limit global warming.

She said public opinion was often overlooked by government negotiators immersed in technical details. "It brings some light into what is otherwise a very dark box," Figueres said.

Organisers from the World Wide Views Alliance, partly funded by the French government, said the study amounted to the largest public consultation ever on climate change. It was conducted on June 6, starting in Fiji and ending in the United States.

The results showed 79 percent of people were "very concerned" by climate change, 19 percent were "moderately concerned" and two percent were unconcerned or had no opinion.

More than 90 percent wanted the upcoming Paris meeting to set some form of legally binding goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2100 to help avert natural disruptions such as more downpours, heat waves and rising sea levels.

On Monday, leaders of the world's major industrial democracies resolved to wean their energy-hungry economies off carbon fuels and set a goal of global decarbonisation by 2100.

Wednesday's report was based on meetings of 100 people, chosen as a cross-section of society in each nation with checks to ensure that that they did not include, for instance, unrepresentative numbers of climate activists or deniers.

Citizens answered questions after discussing global warming in the consultations run by the World Wide Views Alliance.

"It is not a campaign, it is not about telling people what to think," said Bjorn Bedsted, the group's global coordinator.

The U.N. panel of climate scientists says it is at least 95 percent probable that most global warming since 1950 is caused by human activities, led by burning fossil fuels.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Climate change progress 'too slow'

Helen Briggs BBC 11 Jun 15;

International talks in Bonn have made progress towards a new global deal on climate change, says the UN, amid calls from NGOs for a faster pace.

Countries are working towards options to limit greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 in time for a crunch Paris summit.

The UN said progress had been made towards streamlining the text of a new agreement at talks in Bonn.

Environmental groups said ''difficult issues'' such as finance and emissions cuts had yet to be addressed.

The 11-day meeting is designed to pave the way towards a new global deal on climate change to be signed in Paris at the end of the year.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said ''step-by-step progress'' had been made towards countries' understanding of the text of the agreement and how to move forward.

Laurence Tubiana, special representative for the Paris climate conference, said the talks had been useful and had gained the trust of parties.

''I'm feeling optimistic after these two weeks,'' she said. ''We should not be frustrated and disappointed.''


However, The World Resources Institute said progress had been ''slow'' and did not match strong signals for ambitious climate action from outside the negotiations.

And Samantha Smith of WWF said that there was growing concern over ''what is needed and what is being promised on finance and emissions''.

''After difficult negotiations, all countries have said that more ambitious, immediate emissions cuts are needed and these commitments must be a clear outcome of the Paris talks,'' she said.

''However, that work needs to speed up too if we are going to avoid the very worst impacts of climate change.''

Delegates will return to Bonn in August and October for more rounds of climate talks, before the summit in Paris at the end of the year.

The key task now is to revise the draft agreement before it reaches heads of state.

Countries are expected to agree to a plan for the co-chairs of the UN climate negotiations to produce a ''clear and concise'' version of the text.


Scientists say ambitious action is needed to avert the most severe impacts of climate change.

So far, more than 30 countries have pledged to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, with around 150 smaller countries yet to set goals.

Analysis suggests these do not go far enough to keep global warming below 2C.

Environmental groups point to key developments outside of the negotiations that are adding momentum towards Paris.

They include moves by business, such as Ikea giving $1bn to expand renewable energy and climate adaptations in developing countries.

G7 leaders have also signalled the need for action with a call for greenhouse gas emissions cuts and a move towards a low carbon future.

Bonn meeting ends with last-minute compromise on Paris climate text
Countries agree to let co-chairs of the negotiations to make their own alterations to the draft and present it for approval in July
Fiona Harvey The Guardian 11 Jun 15;

Climate change negotiators meeting in Bonn on Thursday came up with a last-minute compromise that observers hope will put the talks on track for a new global agreement on greenhouse gases.

Slow progress was made until the final hours, as nations wrangled over the wording of an 89-page draft text, intending to cut it down to a more manageable size. After two weeks, the text had been cut by just four pages to 85.

But shortly before the talks were scheduled to finish, countries agreed that the co-chairs of the negotiations should be allowed to make their own alterations to the text, and present it to all countries for approval, probably in late July. This should be a quicker process, though there is no guarantee that countries will not try to re-draw the new draft when it becomes available.

The talks in Bonn were a staging post on the way to a crunch conference in Paris this December, at which countries are supposed to sign a new global agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, to take effect from 2020 when current emissions commitments run out.

Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the US Centre for Energy and Climate Solutions, told the Guardian: “There was little chance the parties themselves were going to be able to whittle down the text to a manageable size. Thankfully, they’ve entrusted the co-chairs to do that so they can get down to the real give-and-take next time. That’s a healthy sign.”

Samantha Smith, leader of the global climate and energy initiative at WWF, said: “Progress in Bonn has been slow, but a bigger concern is the growing gap between what is needed and what is being promised on finance and emissions. While much work remains to close that gap, there is hope that governments are finally committed to take more action on emissions prior to 2020.

“All countries have said that more ambitious, immediate emissions cuts are needed: however, that work needs to speed up if we are going to avoid the very worst impacts of climate change.”

The Bonn talks are a staging post on the way to a crunch conference in Paris this December, at which governments are hoping to sign a new global pact, to take effect from 2020, when current commitments from developed and large developing countries to limit their emissions are set to expire.

Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate programme at the World Resources Institute, a US thinktank, pointed to progress made outside the talks, such as the G7’s vow to decarbonise their economies this century, and commitments by developing countries, cities and businesses on emissions.

“This week, strong signals were sent for ambitious climate action from outside the negotiations, but they did not inspire a faster pace in Bonn. Momentum is growing ahead of the Paris climate talks [but] the modest progress made in Bonn did not match the significant action taking place around the world.”

The talks have been mired in discussions ranging from concern over whether rich countries will follow through on their current pledges to provide financial assistance to the poor world, to arcane quibbles over single words in the text.

At one point, the discussion was divided over whether to use the terms “differentiated commitments/contributions”, referring to targets on cutting emissions, or the term “commitments/contributions/action”. The former was preferred by China, the latter by the US.

The distinction may seem trivial, but it points to some of the entrenched attitudes that have dogged the talks over more than two decades.

“Differentiated” comes from a term used in the original UN treaties, as “common but differentiated responsibilities” was used as the way of encoding the fact that all countries, developed and developing, have an interest in alleviating climate change, but that their responsibilities varied based on historical emissions and economic development.

China is adamant that the phrase, known as CBDR in the UN jargon, is core to any existing or potential new agreement, but the US – though it accepts the principle – is wary of the phrase because it believes it has been used in the past to draw a clear dividing line between developed and developing countries. These categories are no longer so clear-cut, according to the US, because of the rapid progress of emerging economies. China, for instance, is now the world’s biggest emitter and second biggest economic power.

Moving beyond these entrenchments was always going to be a struggle, and the Bonn talks have proved no exception to the routine of long and difficult meetings, bogged down in detail, that have characterised the long-running negotiations.

However, some delegates found room for optimism in the fact that, unlike previous meetings, this fortnight’s talks have not been fractious. “There has been no drama, no theatrics,” said Diringer. “The atmosphere has not been like that.”

He praised the co-chairs of the talks, who will be key to getting countries together to form an agreement. “The co-chairs have done a very artful job of building trust and that’s paying off. All the issues are still on the table, and there’s enormous work to be done, but there’s a clear plan for moving forward. That’s probably the best we could have hoped for at this stage.”

Mohamed Adow, senior climate change adviser at the charity Christian Aid, said that a meeting of key ministers, pegged for late July in Paris, must clear the ground for an agreement.

“The crunch issues that ministers need to work on are ensuring that the Paris deal is funded, that it protects vulnerable communities and it has a mechanism to increase ambition over time. It is vital that when ministers meet in Paris on July 20-21 that they resolve these sticking points so that when formal talks resume in August countries will have no excuses.”

Nations warn time running short to prepare Paris climate deal
Alister Doyle and Megan Rowling PlanetArk 12 Jun 15;

Several nations expressed growing unease on Thursday that time is running short to resolve disputes about global warming after U.N. talks ended with little progress toward an international deal to combat climate change meant to be agreed in December.

Delegates representing almost 200 countries trimmed a few pages off an 89-page draft text at the June 1-11 preparatory meeting in Bonn, but stopped short of confronting major underlying issues such as whether to set a global goal for phasing out greenhouse gases this century.

Several governments called for a faster pace, noting there were only two preparatory sessions left before a summit in Paris in December meant to agree a global deal.

"We have not seen as much progress as we would like," said Elina Bardram, head of the European Commission delegation. "It is not something we can tinker around with indefinitely."

A senior U.S. official called the meeting productive but said: "We would like the pace to be quicker." Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: "These are negotiations of great moment to countries. The details matter a lot."

The United Nations said the talks were on track.

"This is a step-by-step process," Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference, saying there had been progress in streamlining the text and clarifying options for action.

Su Wei, China's chief negotiator, said all countries wanted an "ambitious and balanced outcome in Paris" to limit greenhouse gases.

The U.N. panel of climate scientists says it is at least 95 percent probable that most global warming since 1950 is caused by human activities, led by burning fossil fuels.

The Alliance of Small Island States, representing nations from the Pacific to the Caribbean at risk from rising sea levels, said there had been progress in Bonn but: "We are acutely aware that we still have considerable work."

Negotiators meet again in August and October but delegates say the toughest issues will be left for Paris, including aid for developing nations and how to make the deal legally binding.

Nations asked the co-chairs of the meeting to work on the draft text before the next meeting.

Co-chair Ahmed Djoghlaf accused the media of being too negative. "Saying that the process is going nowhere is not a responsible statement," he said. "The job is huge, we are talking about a revolution."

On Monday, the Group of Seven industrialized nations set a goal of phasing out global fossil fuel emissions by 2100. The U.N. talks are deeply split about whether to follow suit.

Many developing nations favor a tougher deadline of 2050 for shifting to renewable energies while some OPEC producers would prefer to omit any deadlines at all.

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

UN climate talks inch forward, putting off tough decisions
KARL RITTER Associated Press Yahoo News 11 Jun 15;

BONN, Germany (AP) — Two weeks of U.N. climate talks ended Thursday with negotiators trimming a draft global climate pact but leaving core sticking points to be untangled later, before a December summit in Paris where the landmark agreement is to be adopted.

Frustrated by the slow pace of the climate talks, some negotiators and observers called the Bonn meeting a squandered opportunity to capture the momentum of a declaration this week by seven world leaders including President Barack Obama endorsing a long-term goal of decarbonizing the global economy — moving away from a dependence on fossil fuels.

"We must go faster," said European Union delegate Ilze Pruse.

Earlier, officials leading the Bonn talks called for patience, with co-chair Ahmed Djoghlaf telling reporters no one can craft a universal agreement with more than 190 countries overnight.

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together," he said.

He noted that some delegates worked so hard in Bonn they missed Saturday's Champions League soccer final in Berlin.

French climate envoy Laurence Tubiana likened the pain-staking U.N. process to giving birth, saying it's difficult to judge the outcome until everything is done.

"You have to wait until the baby is born to see its face," she said.

The Paris deal, which is supposed to take effect in 2020, would be the first where both rich and poor countries pledge to limit their emissions of greenhouse gases that scientists say are raising global temperatures, resulting in more intense heat waves, rising sea levels and other climate impacts.

A previous agreement, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, only required rich countries to take action.

In Bonn, negotiators reorganized sections as they shortened a 90-page text to 85 pages. The co-chairs were asked to streamline the text further by August.

The draft still contains multiple options on contentious issues, including how to differentiate between the obligations of rich and poor countries to fight climate change and what commitments of financial support to fight climate change poor nations want from the rich.

It remains unclear whether the pact will be legally binding.

Also undecided is whether the first round of emissions targets should cover the 2020-2025 period or 2020-2030. Most targets submitted so far are for the latter, while the United States insists on the former.

"The modest progress made in Bonn did not match the significant action taking place around the world," said Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental group.

Norway, meanwhile, recently announced its $900 billion oil fund would divest from coal — the most polluting fuel — and Pope Francis is expected to release his high-level teaching document on ecology and climate change next week.


Karl Ritter can be reached on Twitter at

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