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Negotiators at Climate Talks in Bonn Take Aim at Deforestation

Negotiators at United Nations climate talks aim to make progress in protecting tropical forests and providing financing for developing nations as they struggle to agree on a global accord to reduce carbon emissions.

Delegates from 185 countries meeting behind closed doors in Bonn may outline how to measure and verify emissions from deforestation and how to finance forest protection, Kaisha Kononen, a climate adviser for environmental group Greenpeace, said today in an interview in Bonn.

Negotiators are seeking to incorporate a proposal at last year’s Copenhagen meeting by a handful of countries including the U.S., China and India into a document to form the basis for a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Hurdles for that mean that “small steps” on issues like forest protection and financing may be the only successes this year, Alden Meyer, director of policy at the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, said today in Bonn.

“We don’t want to crash and burn again,” he said, referring to the failure to reach an accord in Copenhagen. “But we can still reach significant agreements even if we can’t get a full deal.”

Christiana Figueres, who becomes the top United Nations climate official in July, said on May 28 that envoys will form the “pillars” of an agreement to tackle global warming at the final summit in December in Cancun, Mexico.

A proposed 42-page pact was submitted earlier this month by the chairman of the talks and debates on the text and its contents begin tomorrow.

“The Copenhagen meeting may have postponed an outcome for at least a year, but it did not postpone the impacts of climate change,” said United Nations Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said today.

Some 50 nations, including Norway and Germany, last week at an Oslo conference pledged about $4 billion to help developing countries combat deforestation. Destroying forests accounts for about 17 percent of man-made CO2 emissions.

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