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UN Climate Talks End with Little Progress


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United Nations talks on climate change have ended in Bangkok with little sign of progress. There are still major disagreements between developing and rich countries, underscoring concerns about whether an agreement can be reached.

U.N. officials say two weeks of talks on climate change ended with modest progress, mainly on technical issues.

But major gaps remain between rich and developing nations on how to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Developing nations want rich countries to commit to higher emission reductions and provide them more funding to reduce their own emissions.

Norway and Japan were the only industrialized countries to win applause for pledging further emission reductions.

Bernarditas Muller is an environmental affairs advisor for the Philippines and spoke for the group of 77 developing nations and China. She said rich country funding offers were woefully inadequate.

"The proposals that we have on the table before us for financing, for technology transfer, for adaptation, all of which are legally binding commitments, only go towards shirking and skirting these responsibilities, shifting these responsibilities to developing countries themselves," she said.

Industrialized countries say they want to see more commitments from developing nations on emission reductions.

Artur Runge-Metzger, the chief negotiator at the talks for the European Commission, says developing countries offered little at the Bangkok talks and need to do more at the next round of negotiations in November in Spain.

"Instead of saying 'ok, let's also put our cards on the table,' they were kept even closer to the chest," he said. "And, I think that's really unfortunate. And, we need to see really, we need to have a glimpse on those cards in Barcelona."

Rights groups expressed concern that the gap between rich and developing nations is widening.

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But Yvo de Boer, the U.N.'s top climate change official, says there have been significant advances in the process and that there is still an underlying spirit of being constructive.

"All the ingredients for success are on the table. And, what we must do now is step back from self-interest and let common interest prevail," he said.

The meeting in Barcelona is the last before final negotiations in December in Copenhagen.

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