U.S., poor nations criticize new U.N. climate text
CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) - The United States and some developing nations criticized on Saturday a new U.N. draft text seeking to break a deadlock at U.N. climate talks in Mexico on a modest package to help slow global warming.
The 33-page text, outlining options for a possible deal at the halfway mark of the November 29 to December 10 meeting, underscored deep rifts between rich and poor about future curbs in greenhouse gas emissions and aid to help the poor.
"It's not complete in some key areas," U.S. deputy climate envoy Jonathan Pershing told delegates at the talks in the Caribbean resort of Cancun.
It defines goals, including a new fund to help developing nations and ways to protect tropical forests and share clean technologies. A treaty is out of reach after world leaders failed to reach a binding deal last year in Copenhagen.
Pershing said the text did not do enough, for instance, to ensure that developing nations would carry out promises to slow the growth of their carbon emissions. China has overtaken the United States as the top emitter.
Some developing nations said the text, which outlines a goal of limiting global warming to a maximum average global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times, implied too weak action by the rich.
"This paper lacks sufficient ambition for the urgent protection of islands and of the world in the context of the threat of climate change," said Dessima Williams of Grenada, which heads the Alliance of Small Island States.
Bolivia and Venezuela also slammed the text as too weak to avoid more droughts, floods, desertification and rising sea levels. Others including the European Union, reserved judgment on the text. Some praised it as a basis for talks.
Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa urged delegates to compromise and said they had made progress on some areas in the first week. "I call upon you to act with a renewed sense of urgency," she said.
Espinosa said she would brief about 60 environment ministers on Sunday about the state of the talks after a welcome dinner on Saturday night in Cancun.
The new text leaves two options for solving a bitter dispute about the future of the Kyoto Protocol, which now obliges about 40 developed nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels during the 2008-2012 period.
One allows an extension and another simply leaves its future unclear.
Kyoto backers Japan, Mexico and Canada have insisted they will not extend Kyoto and want a new treaty to include emerging economies such as China and India. Poor nations say they will only do more if Kyoto backers lead by extending the 1997 deal.
"The draft text provides a good basis for negotiation," said Gordon Shepherd, of the WWF International environment group.
The text also includes two options for future aid to the poor -- one is $100 billion a year from 2020 as favored by rich nations, the other demands 1.5 percent of rich nations' gross domestic product, or a far higher sum.
(Editing by Peter Cooney)