Funding, further emissions cuts key to future climate talks

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When negotiators from 185 countries end their two-week climate talks in Bonn Friday, analysts say a likely breakthrough on rich nations' financial support to the poor will be a good start in restoring mutual trust between the wealthy and the impoverished.

As a major outcome of the Copenhagen Accord, rich nations pledged 30 billion U.S. dollars in aid from 2010-2012, with a vaguer promise of mustering 100 billion U.S. dollars a year by the end of the decade. The funds will be used to help the poor fight against climate change. Many poor nations, however, doubted the promised money would materialize.

"If the rich nations meet their promise and put the money in position by time, it will serve as a cornerstone to rebuild trust. Otherwise, the gap will be further widened," said Li Yan, senior climate and energy campaigner with the NGO Greenpeace.

"Some small and poor countries would not have signed the Copenhagen Accord without such a promise from the rich," she said.

Li, who has been following global climate talks for years, warned that "the trust gap between the developed countries and developing countries is keeping the climate negotiations from moving forward."


"Another major obstacle in global climate negotiations is the developed countries' reluctance for further greenhouse gas emissions cuts," Li said.

U.S. President Barack Obama has supported a bill aimed at cutting U.S. emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, a cut of less than 4 percent below the U.N. benchmark year of 1990. However, the legislation was stalled in the U.S. Senate.

When Obama took office, he said the United States would adopt a new policy on climate change and retake the leadership, but its actions have largely fallen short of people's expectations.

"The U.S. inaction on global warming is one of the major reasons blocking the world from reaching as much consensus as we expected," Li said.

The United States, Japan, Canada and other developed countries have been widely blamed for not taking bold actions in their fight against global warming, while others have added conditions for their emissions cuts.

The European Union, front-runner in the global fight against climate change, has cooled its rhetoric on deeper emissions cuts of 30 percent by 2020, amid pressure from its member countries and industries.

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