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Environment

Climate talks end in unbroken China-US standoff

The world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, China and the United States, were unable to break an impasse in negotiations at the close of UN climate talks in Tianjin, China.

Planet Earth seen from space

Talks are ongoing for a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions

A UN climate meeting in Tianjin, a month out from a key summit on global warming in Mexico, has ended in deadlock on Saturday as Washington and Beijing continued a six-day standoff in the northeastern Chinese city.

The United States did not shift from its position that it would not provide climate funds for developing nations unless countries like China allowed their greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts to be monitored and verified.

"We have made some very modest progress, but, unfortunately, it's been quite limited," the US envoy to the climate talks, Jonathan Pershing, told reporters on Saturday.

"These [key points of discussion] are at the heart of the deal, and the lack of progress on these gives us concern about the prospects for Cancun," he said, referring to the next major UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of November. "In fact the danger we face now is that the essential balance that allowed progress to be made is in jeopardy."

US 'shirking responsibility'

Chinese visit a tourist spot shrouded in fog, caused by air pollution, in Linfen, Shanxi province

China says rich countries must help poor countries pay for cutting emissions

Chinese delegates, meanwhile, stuck to their message throughout the week that the United States and other rich nations must commit to bigger cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases before progress can be made on a global pact lowering global emissions.

China is also demanding that rich nations help developing countries pay for the costs of lowering their emissions, as well as transfer key technologies to allow this to occur.

Su Wei, a senior Chinese climate change delegate in Tianjin, said the Obama administration was shifting blame for the deadlock to China in an attempt to shirk its own responsibilities.

"[The US] has no measures or actions to show for itself, and instead it criticizes China, which is actively taking measures and actions," Su said.

Talks still 'moving forward'

UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres acknowledged the spat between China and the US at the meeting in Tianjin this week, which was attended by delegates from more than 170 countries, but sought to downplay the impact of their feud on the negotiations.

"I would actually underline that while the conversation is occurring [between the US and China] ... many of the other countries have actually been moving forward," she said.

UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres

Figueres tried to play down the spat between China and the US

She also said she was confident a plan by rich nations to give developing countries $30 billion (21.5 billion euros) to help them cope with climate change would be finalized at the upcoming Cancun summit.

"I have said and I will continue to say that fast track finance is the golden key to Cancun. I am confident that the golden key will be dutifully unlocked," she said. "Developed countries are all committed to the pledges they have made for fast track finance."

Nevertheless, the European Union said only mixed results had been achieved in Tianjin.

"We have over the past week seen progress, but progress has been slow," EU representative Peter Wittoeck told reporters. "It was uneven, and went back and forth."

Author: Darren Mara (AFP/AP)

Editor: Sean Sinico

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