UN official urges compromise in climate talks

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Concession is urged as negotiators from more than 180 countries gathered at the resort city on the Caribbean coast on Monday, continuing efforts to tackle climate change.

In the year after the Copenhagen climate summit, progress has been made on the $30-billion fast-start climate fund, and a growing convergence has been witnessed to agree on a balanced package of decisions, said Christiana Figueres, head of the UN climate negotiations.

Developed countries have made pledges to put on the table a total of $28 billion to help poor countries better adapt to global warming.

Although an overarching deal to slash greenhouse gas emissions is still out of reach this year, a balanced set of decisions including the fast-start climate fund, technology transfer and transparency could help restore confidence and pave the way for reaching a legally-binding deal next year, Chao Qingchen, a member of Chinese delegation told China Daily.

However, political tensions are still high between rich and poor countries, on such issues as whether the Kyoto Protocol - the only available mechanism to cut global carbon emissions – should continue after its first commitment period expires in 2012, said Figueres.

Formalizing the mitigate proposals countries have been made in the Copenhagen Accord, a political consensus reached at last year’s climate conference, is another thorny issue countries disagree with each other. “Compromises is an act of wisdom that can unite different positions in creative ways,” Figueres told negotiators at the opening ceremony.

But countries clashed soon after the opening ceremony on whether the principal of consensus should be insisted, with representatives from Papua New Guinea saying the consensus-based process has resulted in the stalemate of the climate negotiation.

Others hold that consensus principal should be the paramount basis for any environment-related negotiation, because “every country has to participate and take action,” said a representative from India delegation.

Mario Molina, a Mexico researcher on climate policy, urged negotiators to think about future generations and the planet as a whole while representing the countries they come from, as climate change is a universal challenge for the human kind.

“If the unabated carbon emissions continue, the world will soon reach a tipping point, which will bring disastrous outcomes to everyone on this planet.” Molina said, “We can’t wait another decade to solve the problem.”

Under elaborate security precautions, about 15,000 negotiators, environmental activists, businessmen and journalists are gathering at the resort complex in Cancun.

Some observers have complained the logistics arrangement which separates the venue for negotiation and side events, arguing that lack of civil society participation could lower the ambition for the negotiation.

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