Climate: Steps seen in UN talks but dangers lurk

A round of UN climate talks was wrapping up, helped by a dose of trust after the Copenhagen Summit.

Bonn: A round of UN climate talks was
wrapping up on Friday, helped by a dose of trust after the
Copenhagen Summit but still troubled by the splits which drove
that historic conference close to disaster.

After 12 days of talks, delegates were issued with a
gingerly-worded document which seeks to revive the quest
towards a post-2012 climate treaty following the squabbles in
Copenhagen last December.

If approved, the draft text would become an official
blueprint for negotiations.

And in turn, if all goes well, that would culminate in a
deal -- possibly by the end of 2011 -- which would slash
emissions of greenhouse gases and channel billions of dollars
in aid to poor countries in climate change`s firing line.

After Copenhagen, where bickering and nit-picking brought
the world`s biggest summit close to a breakdown, the mood in
Bonn showed a good improvement, delegates said.

The talks were the mid-way point to the next big UNFCCC
gathering, taking place in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to
December 10.

But beneath the brighter tone, problems of substance
remained.

Major blocs set down early markers of their opposition to
the tentative text, drafted by Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe of
Zimbabwe, who chairs the main negotiating group.

"Whilst the mood amongst negotiators has mostly been more
constructive than in April and last year, the underlying
disagreements that derailed the talks in Copenhagen are still
to be resolved," the British charity Oxfam observed.

The document puts forward a range of goals for cutting
greenhouse gases, including slashing emissions by as much as
85 per cent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels, and sketches
objectives for climate aid and deforestation.

But these aims are not unanimously shared, and debate is
likely to be furious at the next round of talks in Bonn in
August over how to share out the burden and where to place
priorities. In addition, the text still has big gaps,
including the legal status of the post-2012 treaty.

"The new text to facilitate the negotiations complicates
the negotiations," said Pablo Solon, head of the Bolivian
delegation.

"If this document is going to be the outcome of Cancun,
then the future of humanity is really in danger."

Bolivia is leading a charge for the treaty to limit
warming to only one degree Celsius, a goal seen as unfeasible
by other countries, which say a rise of 1.5 C or 2 C is more
attainable.

PTI