UN climate talks struggle for progress on last day

Poznan, Poland(RushPRNews)12/12/08- Climate negotiators struggled Friday to bridge gaps between rich and poor nations as this year’s main UN global warming talks headed toward the finish line. Hours before the 189-nation conference was to end, delegates haggled over issues like financing for projects to protect developing nations against effects of climate change such as rising seas.
Progress has been slow at the two-week conference, which is part of efforts to reach a deal next December for industrialized and developing nations to curb emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

As delegates tried to wrap up talks in Poznan, Poland, the European Union added uncertainty with its 27 member countries squabbling over how to distribute and pay for EU-wide clean-air targets under the bloc’s system of pollution permits issued to industries.

The EU, seeking to defend the mantle of leader on climate change, has pledged to cut emissions at least 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020.

Few other rich countries came to Poznan with specific goals for cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases blamed for rising temperatures and climate change on Earth.

Australia, Russia and Japan have led resistance to calls by developing countries for more ambitious goals of cutting emissions by 40 per cent or more.

Carbon dioxide, generated when fossil fuels like coal, oil and petrol are burned, is the main greenhouse gas.

With other nations waiting for Barack Obama’s January 20 inauguration as US president, talks were set to turn to intense only next year.

Obama has already energized the talks by pledging to reverse eight years of US climate policy under President George W Bush.

Obama wants to cut US emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 as a first step. Taking a cue from the EU, he has also pledged to launch a nationwide emissions-trading scheme for US industry.

While Obama did not attend this year’s UN talks, former US vice president Al Gore planned to address the conference on Friday.

Gore shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to draw attention to global warming.