New climate battle looms in South Africa in 2011
CANCUN: The world's governments face a new battle in South Africa in 2011 between rich and poor about slowing climate change, buoyed by some progress in Mexico but with faded hopes for a new treaty in coming years.
In 2011, governments will try to build on a deal in Mexico to set up a Green Climate Fund to help channel $100 billion in climate aid a year from 2020, along with new systems to protect tropical forests and share clean technologies.
The two-week meeting in the Caribbean resort that ended on Saturday showed an everbroader belief that a legally binding deal is far off, partly because of opposition by China and the United States, the world's top emitters of greenhouse gases.
"We still have a long and challenging journey ahead of us," said Connie Hedegaard, the European Union's Climate Commissioner, of hopes for a legally binding global deal.
Cancun rejected calls by small island states, which fear they will be washed off the map by rising sea levels, to set a deadline for a treaty when environment ministers next meet in Durban, South Africa, in a year's time.
Opposition in the U.S. Senate to President Barack Obama's calls to legislate curbs on U.S. emissions makes it hard to imagine a new U.N. treaty in coming years-it would need 67 of 100 Senate votes to be ratified. Durban is likely to be the scene of a battle between developed and developing nations about how to extend or replace the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, which obliges nearly 40 developed nations to cut emissions until Dec. 31, 2012.
Cancun made little progress toward resolving splits over Kyoto, long-term curbs on greenhouse gases or ways to bolster fragmented carbon markets that are intended to drive trillion-dollar shifts in investments from fossil fuels.
All sides agreed that a main success in Mexico was to get the 190-nation talks back on track after the U.N.'s Copenhagen summit in 2009 failed to agree a treaty and merely came up with a nonbinding deal among 140 countries. Many of the goals adopted in Cancun-such as limiting a rise in world temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels, or the target of $100 billion in aid from 2020 --were in the Copenhagen Accord last year. -Reuters
BEIJING: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen inspects Chinese People's Liberation Army honour guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People. -Ap