UN leaders call for new political will as meetings resume today

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Stronger political will plus harder work in search of solutions by more minister-level officials is now needed to drive the negotiations forward, President of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) Connie Hedegaard and top UN climate official Yve de Boer told the press in the early evening on Saturday.

Meanwhile, China's climate change talks special representative Yu Qingtai lashed out on the countries for sidetracking the negotiations.

Half-way through the talks, substantial advances were made in adaptation, technology transfer and the use of forest to assimilate emissions.

Earlier last week, negotiations almost ran into a dead end on Thursday when storms built up with new demands from small island countries and strong criticisms over the leaked Danish text.

But things turned around on Friday when the chairs of two working groups tabled drafts of the core documents of the conference - the Long-Term Cooperative Action and the Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, to make sure that talks started to "go to deeper layers", Hedegaard told the press.

To drive the process forward, "we need the engagement of the ministers to see stronger commitment from industrialized countries, to see significant engagement from developing nations and to have on the table the finance to make that developing countries' engagement possible and to allow those countries to adapt to the impact of climate change," de Boer said.

But it would probably take another 12 months before the nations would be able "to capitalize what come out of Copenhagen and turn it into strong legal texts," de Boer said.

Chinese negotiators also see tough work ahead.

A great divide remains between the developing and developed nations as the negotiations start on Dec 12 over the two proposed draft texts of what constitute the core outcomes of the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference.

"The draft texts lay a solid foundation to ensure the Copenhagen conference will have a successful deal," said Su Wei, chief negotiator and deputy director of the Chinese delegation.

The two documents which cover the two separate tracks of negotiations - the Kyoto Protocol track which does not include the US and the LCA track which does - reflects two years of official negotiation based on Bali Roadmap.

While representatives from most developing nations expressed readiness to move forward to hammer out the details in the drafts, negotiators from developed countries cried out for "fairness" in the mitigation efforts.

The draft proposed that developed countries commit themselves to take actions to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 percent, that is, up to 45 per cent of the levels from 1990, by 2020.

Todd Stern, the United States State Department special climate envoy, said during the plenary session that in the draft amendments to Kyoto Protocol, the mitigation efforts targeted the countries that were "responsible for only about a third of global emissions" today.

Makio Miyagawa, deputy director general of Japan's foreign affairs ministry, said at the same plenary session that Japan proposes to "expand the scope of countries responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that include both developed and developing nations."

Yu Qingtai emphasized that all the countries present at the climate talks agreed two years ago on the Bali Road Map, which already spelled out the principles for the coming new deal out of the conference.

Yu said "some members are making a determined effort to make an early end of the Kyoto Protocol and distract the working group for fulfilling their core mandate."

A negotiator from Senegal said that his country hoped that further work would serve the objectives of the future conventions with principles already contained in the Kyoto Protocol and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which stipulated joint but differentiated responsibilities for developed and developing nations.

Hedegaard said, "I can think of no time at any of the six COPs I attended where the involvement and discussions between China and the US and the way they contribute here at the COP have been more constructive.

"We are not there yet, and there are differences in opinions. The thing is we should not underestimate that they are both here; they are engaging; and they are making their voices very much heard; and they are very clear as to where their positions are; and these are good settings for discussion," Hedegaard said.

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