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World

UN Climate talks founder ahead of Cancun

Talks to clear the way for a deal on climate change in Cancun later this year have made little progress. EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that, if anything, negoations were going in the wrong direction.

A participant at the conference

The talks were aimed at smoothing the way for a deal

International efforts to curb the threat of global warming are backsliding, said negotiators after a week of UN climate talks in Bonn.

Chances of an early deal on curbing global warming ahead of the next major conference in Cancun, Mexico looked increasingly slim, the EU said on Friday.

"These negotiations have, if anything, gone backwards," said EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard on the outcome of discussions.

EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard

Hedegaard said the world was 'in danger of missing the train'

In a statement, Hedegaard said that major polluters appeared reluctant to take on their "fair share" of reductions to carbon emissions.

"This imbalance is not helpful and could seriously endanger the prospects of securing the successful outcome the world needs from the Cancun climate conference next December,” she warned. "At this pace the world will simply collectively miss the train."

Last minute additions

Several major industrial nations still refuse to make legally binding cuts.

Efforts to agree on a draft text for negotiation in Cancun were hampered after a number of countries demanded last-minute additions to suit their own interests.

The EU's co-lead negotiator, Artur Runge-Metzger, accused some countries of making additions in a “tit for tat" way that was not in keeping with the spirit of the talks.

Referring to the next set of discussions in Tianjin, China, Runge-Metzger said, "It is important in Tianjin to turn that spirit around."

Villagers stranded on a rooftop

Floods in Pakistan were highlighted as an example of the dangers of climate change

The Copenhagen Accord agreed in principle a goal of capping any global increase of temperatures at 2 degrees centigrade (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The principles for providing aid to countries to deal with curbing C02 were also laid out along with plans to monitor emissions cuts.

However, even the limited achievements of that conference appeared to be in jeopardy, said European Union representative Peter Wittoeck.

"It is disappointing to see some countries that have associated themselves with the accord seem to be dissociating themselves from its political consensus," said Wittoeck.

Worries over US legislation

Wittoeck added that worries that the US Congress would not pass legislation on climate change later this year had also cast a shadow over proceedings.

US negotiator Jonathan Pershing said he was eager for swift agreement, adding that record global temperatures, forest fires in Russia and deadly floods in Pakistan were "all consistent with the kind of changes we could expect from climate change, and they will get worse if we don't act quickly."

UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres

UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres said some progress had been made

"Unfortunately, what we have seen over and over this week is that some countries are walking back from the progress made in Copenhagen," Pershing told journalists.

He told the Reuters news agency that negotiators were putting too much onus on rich nations to deliver cuts, rather than seeking global commitments.

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said she believed that some progress had been made but that governments had to focus on solutions.

"To receive the desired outcome in Cancun they must radically narrow down the choices that are now on the table," she said.

Author: Richard Connor (AFP/dpa/Reuters)
Editor: Kyle James

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