Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

UN Climate Talks: Rich and Poor Countries Spar on Their Roles

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

UN Climate Talks: Rich and Poor Countries Spar on Their Roles

Article excerpt

Two weeks of UN climate talks ended Friday in Bangkok with little sign of consensus on how to achieve deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are essential to slow global warming.

Some delegates expressed pessimism over a breakthrough ahead of a crucial summit in Copenhagen in December, at which global leaders are expected to agree on a successor to the 1997 Kyoto protocol. Environmental campaigners said another "talk shop" at a final preparatory meeting next month in Barcelona risked a complete collapse.

But other observers argued that this week's rancorous debate over the responsibility of rich and poor nations to curb emissions was part of a complex negotiating process that was still largely on track.

Poorer countries griped that rich countries hadn't pledged adequate funding for dealing with the impact of climate change. Nonetheless, UN officials said that the talks involving 180 nations had made progress and that thorny details could still be resolved, provided there was enough political will. "All the ingredients of success are on the table. What we must do now is step back from self- interest and let common interest prevail," UN climate chief Yvo de Boer told a press conference.

A bloc of developing countries erupted in fury after European delegates proposed a reworking of Kyoto, a move that critics said was an attempt to kill the treaty. European Union officials denied trying to destroy it and pointed out that the bloc was meeting its Kyoto commitments on emissions and was ready to make further cuts, provided other polluters signed on. The Copenhagen meeting is designed to set new targets for 37 developed countries bound by Kyoto and to lay out the obligations of those not covered by it, including the US, China and India.

The dispute over Europe's stance appeared to nudge the US, typically the villain at such events, out of the spotlight. …

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