Austrian environment minister and current president of the EU Environment Council, Martin Bartenstein, gave an upbeat assessment of the likelihood of progress at the UN climate change talks in Buenos Aires at a press conference in Vienna today. "My delegation reports that there is a good climate at the climate talks," he said. Mr Bartenstein expressed optimism that negotiators would agree an "action plan" for agreeing precise rules to implement the Kyoto protocol on climate change, a key demand of the EU in the talks. Following this, the fourth conference of parties to the 1992 UN climate change convention, he said, final agreements on how flexible mechanisms such as international emissions trading and joint implementation should be reached at conferences in 1999 and 2000, leaving only small details to be finalised at the seventh conference of the parties in 2001. Mr Bartenstein reiterated the EU's position that the use of flexible mechanisms should be "supplemental" to domestic action to restrain or cut greenhouse gas emissions, but avoided giving a precise target for any ceiling on their use in line with an EU ministerial agreement last month (ENDS Daily 6 October).
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