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.