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Drafting the next global treaty to combat climate change

united nationsNegotiations on a new global treaty to combat climate change continue to heat up, even though a meeting in Copenhagen that is meant to forge a final deal remains months away.

Representatives from the world's nations—ranging from Todd Stern of the U.S. to Kevin Conrad of Papua New Guinea—only manage to get together a few times a year, which means there are just a few weeks of negotiations left before a deal is supposed to be reached. But they’re making some progress.

Much of the framework for a new climate agreement, meant to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012, has already been written. The United Nations organization in charge of all this has just released draft text (pdf) and proposed changes to this working document, which you can check out here.

The current draft lays out the options for various nations’ commitments to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as well as reminding the world of its promises under the Kyoto Protocol (which the world is, for the most part, not meeting).

The document also goes on to cover subjects ranging from an emissions market under a global cap-and-trade scheme to how changes in land use ought to be handled. More details are expected to be released ahead of the next face-to-face negotiations in Bonn, Germany, during the first week of June. Of course, whether a binding treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions will come into force after 2012 is still very much up for debate.

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com / Jeremy Edwards

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