CANCUN An impasse on the future of the Kyoto Protocol is still blocking a deal to slow global warming on the penultimate day of U.N. climate talks, India's environment minister said on Thursday.
"The outcome is still very uncertain," Jairam Ramesh told Reuters after overnight talks among about 190 nations seeking to break a deadlock at the meeting in Mexico's Caribbean resort of Cancun.
Negotiators are trying to set up a new fund to help developing countries combat and adapt to climate change, work out ways to protect tropical forests, and agree on a new mechanism to share clean technologies.
But first they have to get round a dispute about the future of the U.N.'s Kyoto pact, which binds almost 40 developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a first period until 2012.
Japan has said that it will not sign up to an extension of Kyoto and wants instead an entirely new U.N. deal that binds Kyoto countries and emerging economies such as China and India to limit their emissions.
The developing nations say Kyoto members, most responsible for emitting greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution, must show the way and unilaterally agree to extend Kyoto into a second period.
"They (Japan) have called into question the future of Kyoto," Ramesh said.
"It is a question mark," he said of Japan's position, which has been shared by Canada and Russia. "How categorical a statement can we make on the second commitment period?"
"I think we may get some clarity by the end of the day. Right now we are seeing only parts of the overall package. It's difficult for everybody to judge what the overall balance is."
(Reporting by Alister Doyle; Editing by Kieran Murray)