China, US clash over 2010 UN climate talks

Many delegates at the 175-nation talks in Bonn from April  9-11 urged efforts to restore trust between rich and poor  countries but few held out hopes for a breakthrough deal to  fight global warming at the next major talks in Cancun, Mexico,  in late 2010.

In a split between the world’s top two emitters of  greenhouse gases, Washington said it wanted talks in 2010 to  build on a non-binding Copenhagen Accord for limiting global  warming reached by more than 110 nations at the December summit.

Beijing insisted negotiations should be guided by other  draft UN texts and said Premier Wen Jiabao had been “vexed” at  one point in Copenhagen by the way the meetings were organised  in small groups.

“We view Copenhagen as a significant milestone,” US  negotiator Jonathan Pershing told delegates. “We believe that  the accord should materially influence further negotiations.  This was not a casual agreement.”

The accord, backed by about 120 nations, sets a goal of  limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F), but  does not say how. It also holds out the prospect of $100 billion  in aid a year to developing nations.

Su We, China’s negotiator, gave no praise to the Copenhagen  Accord in a speech and said work in 2010 should be guided by  UN texts worked out since a meeting in Bali, Indonesia, in  2007. Those texts are also marred by disagreements.

“Cancun has a very clear objective — to ensure that the  work set out in the Bali road map is carried out,” he said.

“In the process of arriving at the agreement, openness and  transparency were missing,” Su said, saying Wen was “vexed” on  Dec. 17 when he was not informed of a meeting.

China is among 120 formal backers of the Copenhagen Accord,  that is opposed by many developing nations.

Su and many developing nations criticised the practice of  limiting talks to small groups of negotiators. Mexico has  already held one such preparatory meeting limited to about 40  countries to try to get round the unwieldy UN process.

“We are aware that this process of negotiation requires  adjustment and modernisation,” said Fernando Tudela, climate  negotiator of Mexico.

Outside the conference centre, environmentalists dumped  about 4 tonnes of shattered glass on the ground alongside a sign  marked “Copenhagen” and a banner reading: “Pick up the Pieces.“

The UN talks are due to work out how many extra meetings  to hold in the run-up to Cancun.

Most want two or three extra sessions, a lower pace than in  2009. Few spoke of a binding deal in Mexico with most pinning  hopes on 2011 when talks will be in South Africa, or even at a  meeting of world leaders in Rio de Janeiro due in 2012.

The long-running, UN-led process is meant to agree a  successor to the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.

“I don’t think anyone expects a full legal deal (in 2010)  the differences are just too deep,” said Alden Meyer, of the  Union of Concerned Scientists.

Delegates said the talks could make progress in 2010 on  starting a flow of funds, helping safeguard carbon-storing  forests or helping poor countries to adapt to changes in climate  such as desertification, floods or rising sea levels.

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