/ 18 December 2009

UN climate negotiators hammer out initial draft

Negotiators facing a Friday deadline hammered out an initial draft United Nations climate pact overnight that calls for a two degree Celsius cap on global temperatures and billions in aid for poor nations, sources said.

More than 120 world leaders will attend the final day of the climate talks in the Danish capital to try to strike a deal that would step up international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions widely blamed for heating up the planet.

The draft still under discussion proposed limiting a rise in global average temperatures to within two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, the sources, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

Low-lying countries worried about rising seas want a tougher target of 1,5 degrees. Temperatures have already risen half that level over the past century, the UN climate panel says.

Two sources said the draft pledged rich countries to donate $100-billion annually by 2020 to poor nations to help them adapt their economies and cope with climate change that threatens to bring chaotic weather and crop failures.

Leaders from 26 rich and developing countries met into the early hours of Friday to try to overcome deep divisions that have plagued the negotiations since they were launched two years ago in Bali, Indonesia.

”Leaders are flying in, most have already arrived, and the reason they have decided to come to Copenhagen is because there is a genuine feeling to achieve something important,” said Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

The text, which could still change, did not currently mention carbon emissions reduction targets for industrialised nations, one source said.

The two-week talks in Copenhagen have struggled to overcome deep differences over rich nations’ targets to cut emissions, mostly from burning fossil fuels, climate funds and action by big developing countries to curb carbon pollution. — Reuters