Bangkok, April 5, 2011 – More than 2,000 delegates from almost 180 countries are meeting today in Bangkok to press on with climate change talks.

It’s reported that Japan may review its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent in light of the nuclear crisis. But non-government groups are calling for developed nations and countries such as China and India to show greater policy commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Bangkok is again a venue for climate change talks hoping to carry forward gains made in Cancun in Mexico by bringing together international delegates.

But groups such as Jubilee South group from the Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development gathering outside the United Nations Conference venue are calling for industrialised countries to make drastic cuts in green house gas emissions.

The meeting is under the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. The talks are divided between focusing on obligations of developed countries and those obligations based on the role of developing nations.

But Mukesh Roy from the Jubilee South Group in India fears this meeting will be an “exercise in futility” due to a lack of commitment by several nations.

ROY: There’s no real commitment – the U.S. is not ready to commit, India is not ready to commit, China’s not ready to commit, there’s no developed countries – or like emerging economies ready to commit anything seriously about. I think this is an exercise in futility; it’s not going to take us anywhere because nobody is actually ready to commit to any real reduction.

Roy says that in many countries despite understanding the problem there is real resistance to economic change.

ROY: It’s all about increasing energy efficiency we have seen that energy intensity has increased – the coal – we have used more coal with more energy efficiency. So I don’t think energy efficiency is the solution – we have to change the fundamental ways that drives our civilisation that drives society – and we’re not ready to change, it’s not going to change for us.

CORBEN: Do you think the urgency that was there about climate change – that is going – that people have less sense of urgency about it now?

ROY: There has been some sense of apathy at least in the at least in the middle class because they have been listening to these issues for so long people have been fighting at this and everybody knows the truth. People know it, scientists know it, it’s just that they’re not ready to change – the big businesses of petroleum, the big businesses in the East and West, North and South. They are driving the agenda and that is what makes people apathetic – they know that they will probably not be able to bring about any change to this forum.

Bangladesh is one country where rising sea waters due to the impact of climate change threatens millions of lives by 2050. Badrul Alam is president of the Bangladesh Krishok (Peasants) Federation.

ALAM: We think it is the time for the people to raise their voice otherwise our planet will be in peril – the whole planet – So it’s a big concern and we need to continue our struggle and we are expecting from the people who are inside the UN should think of this, they have to understand quite clearly.

CORBEN: Climate activists were critical of the Cancun meeting’s outcome. I asked Mr Alam whether he felt there was growing apathy in the world over the climate change debate.

ALAM: I think not. They are going slowly and they have to take very forthright steps but they are lingering – with everything around climate change. This is not their earnest approach, they have to take very quick decisions but they are just going with their own profit or own development – that’s the problem – they have to think differently they have to think in view of the ecological problem around the globe.

Talks and agreements have called for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Extensions of this agreement include ways to promote sustainable forest management and conservation. The next set of meetings is in Durban South Africa later this year.

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