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Climate Talks Reach Consensus in Bangkok

Climate experts and state representatives from 105 countries met Friday to formally adopt a 24-page report on means of mitigating the worse impacts of global warming after five days of heated debate to reaching a consensus on the document.

"The discussions ended at 3:30 a.m. Friday," said Carloa Traverso Saibante, information officer for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Once the IPCC report is formally adopted, it will be released to the public.

The panel's first report, released in February in Paris, confirmed that global warming was happening while the second, issued in April in Brussels, focused on the impact of the phenomenon on the world's populations and species.

The third IPCC report has focused on the economic implications of the challenge and technological options for tackling it.

Climate experts are hoping it will clearly state the low costs of avoiding a climatic catastrophe in the coming decades by using technologies currently available to prevent the world temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius over pre-industrialised temperatures.

"If you look at the technical summary, it says we can save the climate by only spending 0.1 percent of GDP per year," Hans Verolme, director of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature's (WWF's) Global Climate Change Programme, told reporters Thursday.

Many climate experts claim the costs of saving the planet are miniscule compared with global warming's potential damages, but it is important that politicians also acknowledge this in the IPCC's third report of 2007.

The Bangkok meeting has attracted 30 of the world's leading climate experts and more than 217 government representatives from 105 countries whose task it is to fine-tune the report, which seeks an international consensus on how to reduce greenhouse gases and, perhaps more importantly, how much it would cost.

Political acceptance that it is economically and technologically possible to slow global warming is deemed an important stepping stone toward action.


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