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Bali climate talks seek 2009 deal
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Delegates from about 190 nations gathered in Bali yesterday to try to build on a "fragile understanding" that the fight against global warming needs to be expanded to all countries with a deal in 2009.


Premier Wen Jiabao told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a phone conversation yesterday that China would adopt an "active, responsible and constructive" approach in Bali. But he urged rich nations to help.


"While taking the lead in greatly cutting emissions, developed nations should also help developing nations improve their ability to respond to climate change," the foreign ministry website quoted Wen as saying.


"Developing nations should adopt relevant policies in accordance with their capability, in order to make as much of a contribution as they can to combating climate change," it said.


The UN's top climate change official told thousands of delegates that the eyes of the world would be on their December 3-14 talks in the Indonesian beach resort, saying time was running short to avert severe consequences.


"We're already seeing many of the impacts of climate change," Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference on the eve of the meeting in the tightly guarded venue. "We are on a very dangerous path."


The Bali meeting, of senior officials with 130 environment ministers attending the final days, will try to launch formal negotiations ending with a new UN climate pact in 2009 that will include the United States.


So far, only 36 industrialized nations in the Kyoto Protocol have caps on greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, running to 2012. Most governments agree on a need for more action but disagree about how to share out the burden.


"More discussions will be needed to build on this fragile understanding and explore how it can be put into practice," according to a UN report to be submitted in Bali.


The report, summing up two years of talks about new ways to fight climate change, said some countries were willing to make deeper cuts in emissions, others said existing promises should be kept and still others wanted incentives to join in.


"We heard no dispute that developed countries need to keep taking the lead," wrote Howard Bamsey of Australia and Sandea De Wet of South Africa, the authors of the report.


Prospects for a global deal have been boosted by a decision by President George W. Bush for the United States to take part beyond 2012. "We'd like to see consensus on the launch of negotiations," said Paula Dobriansky, US Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.


(China Daily December 3, 2007)

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