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Time running out for deal at climate talks: France, Germany

Published on 10/12/2011

Time is fast running out for a deal at the UN climate talks in Durban, the environment ministers of France and Germany warned on Saturday as the conference went deep into an unscheduled 13th day.

“We are now in an extremely critical situation because of time,” German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen told journalists after all-night wrangling.

“The delay is very critical. … It is very doubtful whether we will succeed.”

Separately, French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said the extremely slow pace of negotiations under South African chairmanship made the odds of a deal on Saturday ever slimmer.

The marathon talks had been due to end on Friday but ran on for a 13th day with no sign of a breakthrough on a package which is enmeshed in a web of connected issues.

On the table is a proposal for a new pact on greenhouse gas emissions that for the first time would bring all countries under one legally binding roof.

Both Roettgen and criticised South Africa’s slow method of consensus-building and the fact that key draft documents, essential for decision-making, had still not appeared.

“We are in the worst situation, that of failure because of time management,” Kosciusko-Morizet said.

“We are risking failure because of a lack of negotiations, a lack of confrontation,” she said.

“Last night, the (conference) chair did not even seem to take the problem of time into account.”