Climate talks end with divisions, trust, hope for Cancun

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Climate change negotiators from 177 countries and organization ended talks in China on Saturday with some results, but with rich and poor countries still divided over responsibilities for emissions cuts.

"This week has got us closer to a structured set of decisions that can be agreed in Cancun. Governments addressed what is do-able in Cancun, and what may have to be left to later," Christiana Figueres, U.N. climate chief, said at a press conference after the meeting.

Negotiators also talked about key operational elements of finance, technology and capacity building as well as the future of the Kyoto Protocol, she said.

In the past week, negotiators had not come to an agreement on how to allocate the 30-billion-U.S.-dollar "fast start fund" to support developing countries, but a final result would come at Cancun, Figueres said.

Negotiators had come much closer to working out a new fund of long-term finance to cope with climate changes and they would discuss the details in Cancun, she said.

Less progress had been made in discussions of the continuation of Kyoto Protocol, but she expressed confidence that the issue would make progress at Cancun.

After three rounds of talks this year, about 3,100 delegates from 177 parties under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the Kyoto Protocol gathered in north China's Tianjin to pave the way for "concrete outcomes" at the year-end Cancun summit in Mexico.

The European Union and the United States struck a less promising tone as they saw "limited progress" at the Tianjin meeting, but hopes and trust were still there for the Cancun meeting.

Jurgen Lefevere, a climate advisor at the Climate Action Directorate-General of the European Commission, said there were mixed sentiments over issues like transparency, and the outcome was very patchy.

Discussions on some essential areas were far from sufficient, he said.

"Although the gap remains wide, we still have good hope at Cancun," EU climate change official Peter Wittoeck said at the press conference.

In response to talk of parties losing trust amid the gridlock, Wittoeck said trust and hope were still there to bring the required outcome at Cancun.

"Our confidence is real. We have differences on some substances, but would not say trust had disappeared. It is like the progress was not as what we expected," he said.

Jonathan Pershing, U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change, said the disagreements between United States and China remained. "We have not yet found a path to success," he said.

"It appears so far the interests of the two countries do not coincide with respect to the mitigation actions or transparency as the agreements we understood in Copenhagen," he said.

"The process in not over, our sense is that there will be a successful outcome at Cancun," he said.

Pershing said he was very impressed with China's emissions cutting efforts.

"China has enormous investment, and enormous commitment to looking at new infrastructures and renewable energy programs," he said.

"Generally speaking, the outcome of the Tianjin meeting has met with our original expectations," said Su Wei, China's chief climate change negotiator, in an interview with Xinhua Saturday.

The talks in the past five days had made progress to close the differences and improve common understanding among the parties, he said.

"Everybody has been working hard for a balanced outcome at the meeting."

Through the talks, problems had been identified and understanding improved, which would lay the foundations for the next step of negotiations, he said.

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