Climate talks slow, says US

The United States said UN climate talks were making less progress than hoped, with a rift over poorer nations’ emission goals, and that other avenues might be needed to tackle climate change.

Negotiators from 177 governments are meeting this week in the north Chinese city of Tianjin trying to agree on the shape of the successor to the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol, the key UN treaty on fighting global warming, which expires in 2012.

“There is less agreement than one might have hoped to find at this stage,” said Jonathan Pershing, the US negotiator in Tianjin.

“It’s going to require a lot of work to get to some significant outcome by the end of this week, which then leads us into a significant outcome in Cancun,” he said, referring to the main round of talks at the end of the year in Mexico.

The UN and Mexico have been pushing for agreement on less contentious issues such as a scheme to protect carbon-absorbing rainforests, a deal to share clean energy technology with poorer nations and to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change.

But Pershing repeated the US stance on wanting a full package to be agreed.

“The consequences of not having an agreement coming out of Cancun are things that we have to worry about,” he said.

“It is something to be considered seriously, because the process is going to be very hard-pressed to continue to meet and to continue to have these enormous sessions with a lot of people travelling to them unless we can use the process to good effect.

“It doesn’t mean that things may not happen; it may mean that we don’t use this process exclusively as the way to move forward.” — Reuters.

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