Climate: UN talks head into final day

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A new round of UN talks entered its final day on Friday amid hopes that a proposed negotiation blueprint for a post-2012 climate treaty would survive anger and suspicions lingering from last December's Copenhagen summit.

The document is being gingerly presented as a summary of the many -- and often hugely contradictory -- views in the 194-nation arena about what the much-trumpeted pact should contain.

If approved, it would form the basis of haggling over an historic accord to curb greenhouse gases and channel hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries most at risk from climate change.

But delegates feared there was a risk that the tentative draft could come under fire at a plenary session on Friday, where parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were wrapping up their 12-day session.

The talks in Bonn are the mid-way point to the next big UNFCCC gathering, taking place in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 11.

The document puts forward a range of goals for cutting greenhouse gases, including the idea of slashing emissions by as much as 85 percent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

But these aims are not unanimously shared, and there is likely to be furious debate over how to share out the burden and how commitments should be scrutinised and enforced.

In addition, the text still has big gaps, including the legal status of the post-2012 treaty.

"We've got problems with it (the text) as everyone has, but we are prepared to move forward on it as a basis for discussion... at least we've got a starting point," said South African delegate Alf Wills.

"Everyone will find something they like, as well as something they hate," said Kaisa Kosonen of Greenpeace.

Bolivia, for one, is leading a charge for the treaty to limit warming to one degrees Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), a goal seen as far too ambitious by other countries.

Man-made greenhouse gases are a by-product of burning oil, gas and coal, which provides the backbone of today's energy supply, and from deforestation.

Colourless and odourless, these gases are accumulating in the lower atmosphere, trapping heat from the Sun in the famous "greenhouse" effect.

On current trends, warming from the Sun will so disrupt Earth's fragile climate system that many millions of people will face worse drought, flood, storm and rising seas by century's end, the UN's climate panel says.

© 2010 AFP

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