- Associated Press - Sunday, November 28, 2010

CANCUN, MEXICO (AP) - Facing another year without a global deal to curb climate change, the world’s nations will spend the next two weeks debating how to mobilize money to cope with what’s coming _ as temperatures climb, ice melts, seas rise and the climate that nurtured man shifts in unpredictable ways.

Beginning Monday, 15,000 government delegates, environmentalists, business leaders, journalists and others will gather in the meeting halls of this steamy Caribbean resort for the annual conference of the 193-nation U.N. climate treaty.

They meet late in a year that may end tied for the hottest globally in 131 years of record-keeping.

As the world warms, the long-running U.N. negotiations have bogged down, unable to find consensus on a legally binding agreement requiring richer countries _ and perhaps some poorer _ to rein in emissions of carbon dioxide and other industrial, transportation and agricultural gases blamed for global warming.

The Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives and a recent historic shift in emissions _ developing countries now produce more greenhouse gases than the old industrial world _ all but guarantee the standoff will drag on, at least for another year or two.

“The world is waiting for fruitful negotiations,” Mexico’s environment secretary, Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, told The Associated Press.

U.N. officials hope for “incremental progress” on side issues, not an overarching deal, in two weeks of negotiation ending with three days of high-level bargaining among the world’s environment ministers.

“Governments need to prove the intergovernmental process can deliver and come to an agreement,” U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres told reporters outside the beachside Moon Palace Hotel.

Mexican naval vessels offshore joined a giant security cordon ringing this sprawling resort area in a country plagued by drug wars, kidnappings and other crime.

Hoping to revive momentum in the talks, delegates look for decisions leading to better terms for developing nations to obtain patented “green” technology from advanced countries, and toward a system for compensating poorer nations for protecting their forests.

In particular, the developing world wants a significant deal on finance, a decision to establish a green fund to handle billions in aid dollars pledged by developed nations to help poorer countries adapt to a changing climate by, for example, building shoreline protection and upgrading water systems to deal with drought, and to install clean energy sources.

In a nonbinding Copenhagen Accord reached by world leaders at last year’s climate summit in the Danish capital, richer nations set a goal of $100 billion annually in such climate finance by 2020.

The fund’s operational and leadership details would likely be left for post-Cancun negotiation, as would the key question of how it would be financed. A U.N. panel of international political and financial leaders has presented a menu of revenue-raising options, including levies on international flights and on foreign-exchange transactions.

More immediately, less-developed nations will raise concerns about short-term aid, “fast-start finance” promised in the Copenhagen Accord.

“There’s been too little for small island developing states. It’s a trickle,” said Grenada’s U.N. ambassador, Dessima Williams, chair of an alliance of island states.

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