(Reuters) - U.N.-led negotiations in Mexico’s Cancun beach resort aim to cement existing pledges to curb carbon emissions and global warming.
Hinging on an emissions deal, the talks may also agree to long-term climate aid for developing countries and payments to protect rainforests as well as sharing of green technologies.
If there is no deal on emissions, it is possible that Cancun will produce no outcome as any agreements must be reached by consensus.
Following are areas of possible agreement at the talks scheduled to end on Friday. The meeting is likely to run overnight into Saturday.
* A draft text on Thursday suggests leaving the future of the Kyoto Protocol open to try to satisfy both rich and poor countries, which are split about an extension.
* It says the meeting could simply call “for the conclusion as soon as possible of ... the negotiations for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.”
The 1997 protocol requires emissions cuts by almost 40 industrialized countries from 2008-2012. Developing countries want rich nations to set deeper cuts under Kyoto until 2020, while emerging nations sign up for a separate accord.
But at least three developed countries — Japan, Canada and Russia — instead want a single binding agreement that lists pledges by all major emitters, including China and the United States.
* Other alternatives are to formalize future national emissions pledges, for example, inserting these under both Kyoto and the umbrella U.N. climate convention.
A decision on whether or not to extend Kyoto has been the central stumbling block in Cancun, even though a decision on Kyoto’s future does not legally have to be made until June 30, 2011, six months before a first period expires.
* Set a deadline to agree to a binding, post-2012 deal. The Alliance of Small Island States, backed by the European Union, favor an end-2011 deadline for an accord, but this is seen by many, including the United States and China, as too ambitious.
* Decide on the length of the next round of emissions targets, for example 2013-2017 or to 2020.
* Refer to a long-term goal, for example to limit warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times. Many developing nations want a ceiling of 1.5 degrees C while Bolivia wants a maximum 1 C rise.
* Mention the widely held scientific view that emissions targets are too weak and agree to review these in 2013-2015.
* Decide whether to cancel surplus, tradable emissions credits owned by countries whose emissions were below their 2008-2012 Kyoto targets, called assigned amount units.
* Agree to measure annually developed country emissions and their contribution to climate aid.
* Measure developing countries’ greenhouse gases and their actions to slow emissions growth, perhaps every two to four years.
* Agree on common accounting standards, for example on measuring carbon emissions from forests.
This issue is called measurement, reporting and verification in U.N. jargon. All rich countries, especially the United States, are determined that developing countries report their climate actions, to make their pledges more formal.
The main dispute is how far developing nations have softer duties than industrialized countries. A deal may depend on how far developed countries commit to climate aid.
* A political agreement to pay tropical countries not to cut down natural forests, called reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).
* Launch a program to set REDD rules through 2011.
* Delay decision on whether to include the scheme under an existing market in carbon offsets called the clean development mechanism (CDM).
* Agree safeguards for wildlife and indigenous peoples.
An outline deal on REDD is almost certain, provided countries find a resolution on Kyoto. The main doubt is inclusion of a phrase supporting the rights of indigenous people.
* A political commitment to establish a new long-term fund, especially to help least developed countries cut carbon emissions and prepare for climate change.
* The fund would dovetail with a commitment countries made in Copenhagen last year to raise $100 billion annually by 2020.
* Launch a program to decide in 2011 the board structure, crucially the split between developed and developing countries.
A fund is very likely to be launched as a central outcome of the Cancun conference if a deal is done on Kyoto. The most contentious detail will be whether or not to mention a dollar amount. Some developing countries say a previously agreed $100 billion annually by 2020 is not enough.
* Link an existing adaptation framework to new sources of financing, including the proposed new climate development fund, as well as previously agreed “fast-start” funding of $30 billion from 2010-2012.
* Create a disaster relief mechanism to help countries that have suffered extreme weather events.
Adaptation means taking steps to prepare for climate change. Poor and vulnerable nations including small island and African states want adaptation to be a much bigger focus of climate talks, and some sort of deal on adaptation is very likely.
- Launch a “technology mechanism,” including establishing regional centers in developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa to share low-carbon technologies.
Reporting by Gerard Wynn; Editing by Kieran Murray and Stacey Joyce