Nations warn time running short to prepare Paris climate deal

Thursday, 11 June 2015 16:08 GMT

A visitor places her hands on a "Tangible Earth", a digital globe which real time global metrological data is fed through the Internet from about 300 places in the world. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

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Limited progress made at Bonn talks toward a global deal on climate change set to be agreed in December

BONN, Germany, June 11 (Reuters) - Several nations expressed growing unease on Thursday that time is running short to resolve disputes about global warming after U.N. talks ended with little progress towards an international deal to combat climate change meant to be agreed in December.

Delegates representing almost 200 countries trimmed a few pages off an 89-page draft text at the June 1-11 preparatory meeting in Bonn, but stopped short of confronting major underlying issues such as whether to set a global goal for phasing out greenhouse gases this century.

Several governments called for a faster pace, noting there were only two preparatory sessions left before a summit in Paris in December meant to agree a global deal.

"We have not seen as much progress as we would like," said Elina Bardram, head of the European Commission delegation. "It is not something we can tinker around with indefinitely."

A senior U.S. official called the meeting productive but said: "We would like the pace to be quicker." Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: "These are negotiations of great moment to countries. The details matter a lot."

The United Nations said the talks were on track.

"This is a step-by-step process," Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference, saying there had been progress in streamlining the text and clarifying options for action.

Su Wei, China's chief negotiator, said all countries wanted an "ambitious and balanced outcome in Paris" to limit greenhouse gases.

The U.N. panel of climate scientists says it is at least 95 percent probable that most global warming since 1950 is caused by human activities, led by burning fossil fuels.

The Alliance of Small Island States, representing nations from the Pacific to the Caribbean at risk from rising sea levels, said there had been progress in Bonn but: "We are acutely aware that we still have considerable work."

Negotiators meet again in August and October but delegates say the toughest issues will be left for Paris, including aid for developing nations and how to make the deal legally binding.

Nations asked the co-chairs of the meeting to work on the draft text before the next negotiating session.

Co-chair Ahmed Djoghlaf accused the media of being too negative. "Saying that the process is going nowhere is not a responsible statement," he said. "The job is huge, we are talking about a revolution."

On Monday, the Group of Seven industrialised nations set a goal of phasing out global fossil fuel emissions by 2100. The U.N. talks are deeply split about whether to follow suit.

Many developing nations favour a tougher deadline of 2050 for shifting to renewable energies while some OPEC producers would prefer to omit any deadlines at all.

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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