Britain, Brazil to seek end to Kyoto climate impasse

by Robert Campbell and Christopher Buckley | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 6 December 2010 03:00 GMT

    * U.N. climate talks seek help from rich, poor states

   * Mexico says "conditions in place" for climate deal

  CANCUN, Mexico, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Britain and Brazil will seek to break the deadlock over the future of the Kyoto Protocol for combating global warming that has overshadowed U.N. talks to try to work out a modest climate deal in Mexico.

   Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa said she had asked other pairs of rich and poor nations -- including Sweden and Grenada and Australia and Bangladesh -- to work to end other, lesser disputes at the Nov. 29 to Dec. 10 talks.

   "The conditions are in place to reach a broad and balanced package of decisions," she told delegates from almost 200 nations in the Mexican beach resort of Cancun.

   "However, the positive outcome that our societies demand is still not complete."

   The talks seek a package of measures including a new fund to channel aid to developing nations as well as ways to share clean technology, protect tropical forests that store carbon and help the poor adapt to the impact of climate change.

   A treaty is out of reach after a 2009 summit in Copenhagen summit fell short of a legally binding deal to avert what U.N. climate experts say will be droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases.

   Espinosa said she had asked environment ministers for help. Britain and Brazil would try to resolve the deepest split, over the Kyoto Protocol, a pact that obliges nearly 40 developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions until 2012.

   Japan, Russia and Canada have been adamant that they will not sign an extension and want a new, broader treaty that will also bind emerging economies led by China and India to act.

   Developing states say rich nations have emitted most greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution and they must extend Kyoto before poor countries can be expected to sign up.

  Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Juan Manuel Gomez said there had been progress on many areas from forestry to finance despite the deadlock over Kyoto.

  "These pieces of the puzzle are almost right at this point. But everything is linked," he told a news conference.

  Espinosa said Sweden and Grenada would work on long-term global goals for slowing climate change and Spain and Algeria would try to to bridge gaps on how to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

  Australia and Bangladesh would work on finance and technology, while New Zealand and Indonesia would seek to work out other issues about curbing greenhouse gases.

  "This gives us a good basis to work from," European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told the meeting.

  Gomez said some nations, mostly developing countries, were planning to issue national plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Dozens of nations have not yet submitted plans to the United Nations outlining what they intend to do.

  In Caracas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blamed "criminal" capitalism for causing climate phenomena including heavy rains that have killed scores in Venezuela and Colombia.

  Separately, emissions markets developers said international projects generating voluntary carbon credits by protecting forests are slowly moving forward.

  Norway and other rich nations have pledged about $4 billion since last year to help slow deforestation.

(Writing by Alister Doyle, with extra reporting by Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing, Deborah Zabarenko in Washington, Andrew Cawthorne in Caracas; editing by Chris Wilson)

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