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Climate deal afar as talks near end



DOHA: UN climate talks today entered their final week amid rows over the Kyoto Protocol and funding for poorer countries, despite fresh warnings of the peril from greenhouse gases.

After six days of wrangling, nearly 200 nations remained far apart on issues vital for unlocking a global deal on climate change, said delegates at the talks in Doha.

Poor countries were insisting Western nations sign up to deeper, more urgent cuts in carbon emissions under Kyoto after the pact’s first round of pledges expires at year’s end.

They were also demanding the rich world commit to a new funding package from 2013 to help them cope with worsening drought, flood, storms and rising seas. Both questions are key to a new treaty that must be signed by 2015 and enter into force in 2020 to roll back global warming.

“What gives me frustration is that we are very far behind what science tells us we should be doing,” UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) chief Christiana Figueres told a press conference, adding though that she retained “hope.”

Some delegates began to voice fears of deadlock ahead of ministerial-level talks, starting on Wednesday, to crown the annual negotiations under the UN banner.

A new study warned yesterday that Earth could be on track for warming above five degrees Celsius by 2100 — at least double the 2C limit enshrined by the UN.

The head of the International Energy Agency, Maria van der Hoeven, warned today that limiting warming to 2C “is becoming more difficult and more expensive with every passing year.”

“Time is running out to prevent the loss of entire nations and other calamities in our membership and around the world,” added the Alliance of Small Island States, gathering nations badly at risk from warming-induced rising sea levels.

Despite the warnings, observers say the Doha talks have become stuck.


• Hot air: EU member Poland and some other countries insist on retaining their tradeable hot air — unused greenhouse gas emissions quotas — into the followup Kyoto period — a move opposed by the developing world

• Funding: Developed countries are being asked to show how they intend to meet a promise to raise funding for poor nations’ climate mitigation plans to $100 billion per year by 2020

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