World News

Brown to join climate talks two days early

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown will join climate talks in Copenhagen two days ahead of schedule to try to help overcome obstacles blocking a deal, his spokesman said on Monday.

The United Nations talks to agree a new deal on limiting global warming stalled earlier on Monday when African nations accused developed countries of trying to “kill Kyoto,” the existing protocol for cutting greenhouse gases.

Brown, who had been due to attend the final two days of the United Nations talks on Thursday and Friday, said he had decided that he should get involved sooner. He will now fly from London on Tuesday for planned talks with other world leaders.

“These negotiations cannot wait until the last minute, by that he means Thursday and Friday,” Brown’s spokesman told reporters in London. “We have learned the lessons, particularly from G20, that it takes leadership to get involved and to try and pull together what is required as soon as possible.”

Poor and rich nations are split over the fate of the existing Kyoto Protocol, which sets out legally-binding emissions cuts until 2012. Developing states want to extend Kyoto, while most rich countries want to merge Kyoto into a new, single accord with obligations for all.

Brown hopes to meet Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi before other leaders begin arriving for the end of the negotiations.

The 190-nation talks will culminate in a summit on Thursday and Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama will attend.

Brown, trailing in the polls less than six months before an election, has sought to take a lead in the talks in the Danish capital.

He has described climate change as “perhaps the greatest challenge we face as a world” and says low carbon goods and services needed to fight global warming will help to sustain the economy recovery.

Reporting by Peter Griffiths and Tim Castle