UPDATE 1-Dispute over climate aid threatens UN talks in Warsaw

Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:47pm EST

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By Michael Szabo and Stian Reklev

WARSAW, Nov 22 (Reuters) - A dispute over how to raise cash to help developing nations cope with global warming threatened to derail U.N. climate talks in Warsaw on a final day on Friday, despite a glimmer of progress in protecting carbon-rich forests.

Negotiators from almost 195 countries were also split at the Nov. 11-22 talks over whether each country should simply decide its own greenhouse gas cuts beyond 2020 or submit plans that could then be reviewed by other governments.

The talks in the Polish capital, likely to run overnight into Saturday, are meant to lay the foundations for a global climate accord to be agreed in 2015 in Paris and to come into force after 2020.

Little has emerged from the conference to limit rising world emissions of greenhouse gases.

"On finance there has been no progress," said Claudia Salerno of Venezuela, spokeswoman for a group of developing nations, including China and Indonesia, who accused the rich of failing to keep promises a steady rise in aid.

Developing nations say they need more money to cut their emissions and adapt to heatwaves, floods, storms and droughts. They also want a new "mechanism" for loss and damage caused by slow impacts, such as rising sea levels and desertification.

Rich nations agreed in 2009 to raise climate aid to $100 billion a year from 2020 from an annual $10 billion for 2010-12. More focused on spurring their own weak economies, rich nations have refused to spell out clear targets for 2013-19.

A draft text on Friday merely urged the rich to raise aid. The European Union said it would pledge more than 6 billion euros ($8.11 billion) in climate aid to developing countries in 2014, a rise from 5.5 billion euros for 2013.

Developed nations including the United States say they are willing to consider a loss and damage mechanism, but say it will have to be part of funds already decided.

"SHAM" TALKS

In one snippet of progress, negotiators agreed rules on financing forest projects in developing nations in a step that could pave the way for multi-billion dollar investments from governments, funding agencies and private firms.

Trees soak up carbon dioxide as they grow and release it when they rot or burn.

Overall, environmentalists were damning of the Warsaw talks, pointing to signs of more extreme weather. The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has risen to more than 5,200.

"This was a sham," said Kumi Naidoo, head of Greenpeace, saying that Japan had eased its goal for greenhouse gas cuts, Australia was weakening its climate legislation and Brazil had reported a rise in deforestation during the talks.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said it was wrong to expect Warsaw to solve all issues. "We are looking for an outcome that imparts momentum to the negotiation process," he said.

The U.N. panel of climate scientists said in September "sustained and substantial" cuts in greenhouse gases are needed to achieve a U.N. goal of limiting warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times - widely seen as a threshold for dangerous change.

Environmentalists hoped the conference would at least produce a timetable for emissions cuts targets beyond 2020.

The European Union wants pledges made in 2014 so that they can be reviewed before Paris, while the United States argues for early 2015. Many developing nations want the rich to lead and they have not set their own timetables.

($1 = 0.7394 euros) (Reporting by Stian Reklev, Michael Szabo, Nina Chestney and Alister Doyle; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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