Bonn: Climate negotiators split on how to fight global warming and who should foot the bill will grapple today with finalising a draft agreement ahead of a crucial UN summit.
It is the final negotiating day before heads of state and government arrive in the French capital for a November 30-December 11 conference tasked with sealing the deal.
The pact will be the first to unite all the world's nations in a single arena for reining in global warming and helping vulnerable nations cope with its impacts.
"The most difficult issues remain the same as before," the European Union's top climate negotiator, Elina Bardram, told AFP yesterday, summing up the first four days of fraught talks in Bonn.
After more than two decades of negotiations, she said, it still boils down to one fundamental disagreement: "How do you divide responsibilities between developed and developing countries?"
A stark reminder came as negotiators bickered when US scientists reported yesterday that the first nine months of 2015 had been the warmest on record worldwide.
Voluntary national pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions have gone part of the way towards the UN goal of capping warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the mid-19th century benchmark.
But how to fill the remaining "emissions gap" remains highly contentious, with developing countries reluctant to set more ambitious goals unless rich nations provide guarantees of finance.
That money would go towards easing their transition away from cheap and abundant coal to cleaner energy, and for shoring up defences against the impact of climate change.
Money, said negotiators and observers, remains the most obstinate hurdle.
A promise made at a tumultuous 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen to provide USD 100 billion (90 billion euros) in annual assistance to developing nations from 2020 was devoid of detail.
How much will be for curbing emissions and how much for boosting resilience? Can the money be from grants or loans, or the private sector. All these points remain undefined.
"We shouldn't be waiting for a miracle on finance here," France's climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana said of the Bonn round of talks.
"It is probably a subject that will be dealt with at the end" of the Paris conference, she told journalists last night.
The job of negotiators in the former West German capital is to provide a manageable framework for ministers and top leaders to work out political compromises to give the final pact teeth.