- Associated Press - Friday, December 10, 2010

CANCUN, MEXICO (AP) - Weary delegates from almost 200 nations struggled through night and day Friday to cobble together final decisions wrapping up the U.N. climate conference, small steps to revive the faltering, yearslong talks to guard the Earth against planetary warming.

No grand compact mandating deep cuts in global warming gases was in the cards. Instead, the two-week session focused on a proliferation of secondary issues _ a “Green Fund” to help poor nations, deforestation, technology sales and other matters.

The cross-cutting interests of rich and poor nations, tropical and temperate, oil producers, desperate islanders and comfortable continental powers, all combined once more to tie up the annual negotiating session of environment ministers down to its scheduled final hours.

“Everything is still being negotiated until we have the full package,” the European Union’s climate chief, Connie Hedegaard, told reporters. “The balance between the elements is what is at stake today.”


Coordinated by host Mexico, small groups of delegates, each led by two ministers, worked overnight and well into Friday behind closed doors at their meeting site, a sprawling beachside resort hotel.

Negotiators had made progress on one key issue: financial support for developing nations to obtain clean-energy technology to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions, and to adapt to potentially damaging climate change _ by shifting agricultural practices, for example, and building seawalls against the rise of warming seas.

In the “Copenhagen Accord” that emerged from last year’s climate summit in the Danish capital, richer nations promised $100 billion for such a Green Fund by 2020.

“There is a consensus that we set up a climate fund,” Bangladesh’s state minister for environment, Mohammed Hasan Mahmud, reported Friday. Details of oversight, such as its governing board’s balance between rich- and poor-nation representatives, were left to post-Cancun negotiations.

Mahmud lamented that once again a hoped-for overarching pact to slash global emissions was being deferred at least another year, to the 2011 conference in Durban, South Africa.

“I doubt if the Durban (conference) will deliver the desired level of results if the negotiations go the way we have been going through here,” he said.

Other issues facing intense last-minute negotiation at Cancun:

_Setting up a global structure to make it easier for developing nations to obtain patented technology for clean energy and climate adaptation.

_Pinning down more elements of a complex, controversial plan to compensate poorer nations for protecting their climate-friendly forests.

_Taking voluntary pledges of emissions controls made under the Copenhagen Accord by the U.S., China and other nations, and “anchoring” them in a Cancun document, giving them more formal U.N. status.

_Agreeing on methods for monitoring and verifying that developing nations are fulfilling those voluntary pledges.

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