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Brazil, UK asked to help end Kyoto climate rifts

CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) - Participants in United Nations climate talks asked Brazil and Britain on Sunday to help break a deadlock over the future of the Kyoto Protocol for fighting global warming as host Mexico expressed cautious hope for a deal.

People from NGOs and social movements protest during the Global Alternative Forum for Life and Environmental Social Justice in Cancun December 5, 2010. REUTERS/Gerardo Garcia

Delegates called for swifter progress at the November 29 to December 10 meeting among almost 200 nations on a modest package of measures after a summit in Copenhagen last year failed to produce agreement on a treaty and damaged relations between rich and poor countries.

“The conditions are in place to reach a broad and balanced package of decisions,” Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa told a planning session that included several environment ministers.

“However, the positive outcome that our societies demand is still not complete,” she said of the talks in the Caribbean resort of Cancun whose goals include a new climate fund to aid the poor and a mechanism to share clean technology.

Espinosa said she was asking environment ministers, acting in pairs from rich and poor nations, for help. Britain and Brazil would try to resolve the deepest split, over the Kyoto Protocol, a pact that obliges nearly 40 developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions until 2012.

Japan, Russia and Canada have been adamant that they will not sign an extension and want a new, broader treaty that will also bind emerging economies to act.

China, India and other developing states say rich nations have emitted most greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution and must extend Kyoto before poor countries can be expected to sign up. The dispute has dominated the talks.

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Espinosa said Sweden and Grenada would work on a long-term global goals for slowing climate change and Spain and Algeria would try to bridge gaps on how to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

Australia and Bangladesh would work on finance and technology, while New Zealand and Indonesia would seek to work out other issues about curbing greenhouse gases.

“This gives us a good basis to work from,” European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told the meeting.

China expressed hopes of progress. “As long as all parties have sincere political wills, China thinks the talks will eventually achieve positive and meaningful results,” Chinese negotiator Su Wei told Xinhua.

In Caracas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blamed “criminal” capitalism for causing climate phenomena including heavy rains that have killed scores in Venezuela and Colombia.

Both nations said the floods and landslides were reminders of severe weather predicted because of a build-up of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. They said the talks should seek to avoid the errors of the Copenhagen summit.

“We must put the ghost of Copenhagen behind us,” said Colombian delegate Paula Caballero Gomez.

Writing by Alister Doyle, with extra reporting by Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing, Deborah Zabarenko in Washington, Andrew Cawthorne in Caracas; editing by Chris Wilson