- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NEW DELHI (AP) - Next month’s crucial U.N. climate summit can yield agreement on a system for transferring funds and technology to developing nations _ but only if intellectual property issues are left for later, officials said Wednesday.

Mexico’s Environment Minister Juan Elvira Quesada said there was a “very important advance” toward a technology deal during a two-day conference in New Delhi.

But the sticky issue of how to share patented technologies cannot be resolved before the two-week Cancun summit begins Nov. 29, delegates said.

Giving poor countries the funds and means for coping with rising temperatures is a key pillar of a climate change agreement sought in Cancun _ along with renewed pledges to cut greenhouse gases beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.

Poor nations need help adapting to a warming world, by building barriers against rising seas, shifting crops threatened by drought, building water supply and irrigation systems, and improving health care to deal with diseases.

Developing countries like China and India also need help moving to low-carbon energy systems, such as solar and wind power, and away from the fossil fuels whose emissions are blamed for global warming.

The last U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, failed to produce an international agreement mandating significant emissions cuts among industrialized nations, which demanded developing countries also rein in emissions.

“What we want is to have a very inclusive process,” Elvira Quesada said at the end of the New Delhi meeting, attended by 35 delegations including from the U.S., China, the European Union and Japan.

For a deal to include pledged cuts by developing nations, financial help and technology sharing are considered essential.

“Some technology transfer is necessary, and some countries are not in a position to pay for it,” said Sha Zukang, head of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

But the talks have divided rich and developing nations over the issue of intellectual property rights.

Industrialized nations say reducing patent protections in sharing technology would undermine financial incentives for innovation, while developing countries argue they would miss targets for limiting their growing emissions if they have to reproduce research already done.

India’s holding the conference, just weeks after another climate meeting in Tainjin, China, has raised hopes that developing nations, also including Brazil and South Africa, will come to Cancun ready to compromise for a successful deal.

“We cannot have a repeat of Copenhagen,” Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

India has suggested the priority should be in helping poor nations adapt to the affects of warmer temperatures _ by sharing technologies for water, health and agriculture _ and the more divisive talks on emissions-cutting technologies should left for future debate.

“We have to find a middle path between the two extremes. Cancun is the last chance,” Ramesh said. “The technology for adaptation is less controversial than the technology for mitigation.”

But even without agreement on intellectual property issues, he said, “that should not mean we cannot have an agreement on a technology mechanism.”

The delegates in New Delhi have focused on setting up a governing body to manage the sharing of technologies across borders, with many saying they preferred a small committee staffed with experts for efficiency, according to a conference summary.

The body, called the Technology Executive Committee, could also advise on how climate funds should be spent.

Industrial nations, led by President Barack Obama, agreed at December’s Copenhagen summit to set a goal of $100 billion in annual climate finance by the year 2020.

Toward reaching that goal, a high-level U.N. panel on Friday released a report suggesting potential sources, including levies on international flights and “carbon pricing” _ either a direct tax broadly on emissions of carbon dioxide or a cap on emissions coupled with trading in emissions allowances. That report will be discussed at Cancun.

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