London: Negotiations ahead of the crucial UN climate talks in Copenhagen are "not going well", Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband warned on Thursday.
Miliband indicated that December's meeting, being convened to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, could be the precursor to a legally binding treaty, rather than yielding one itself.
Hopes of an accord has faded in recent days -- among other warnings, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday it was "obvious" a "full-fledged binding treaty, Kyoto-type" could not be completed in Copenhagen.
During a debate on preparations for Copenhagen in the House of Commons, Miliband told lawmakers: "The UN negotiations are moving too slowly and not going well."
He said that there was a "history of mistrust" between developed and developing nations and countries were "stuck in entrenched positions".
"I think the important thing about the agreement we now seek in December is that while it may be a political agreement it must lead, on a very clear timetable, to a legally binding treaty," Miliband added.
"So, in other words, in December we must set the terms of the movement to a legally binding treaty because that seems to me to be very, very important."
Negotiators from more than 190 countries are meeting in Barcelona this week for a final round of talks before the December 7-18 conference in Denmark.
The aim is to craft a new pact on climate change beyond 2012 but the negotiations are mired in discord over how to apportion carbon emission cuts and finance a switch to lower-pollution technology.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling urged his counterparts to make progress on the issue at the G20 finance ministers meeting starting Friday.
"We either take action and stop those problems happening or we fail to take action and we face bigger costs down the line," said Darling, who hosts the meeting at St Andrews in Scotland.
"My message to my fellow finance ministers is there's a job of work to be done here. I don't think anyone seriously denies there's a problem here. Let's get on with it."
G20 sources said discussions in Scotland would focus on how cash from rich countries to help developing nations tackle climate change should be delivered.
First Published: Friday, November 06, 2009, 13:40