Hopes fading for climate agreement
"Ask for a camel when you expect to get a goat," runs a Somali saying that sums up the fading of ambitions for United Nations talks on slowing climate change -- aim high, but settle for far less.
Developing nations publicly insist the rich must agree far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but increasingly believe that only a weaker deal can actually be achieved to keep the existing Kyoto Protocol, or parts of it, alive beyond 2012.
"They have to ask for a camel ... but will settle for a goat," Mohamed Adow, of Christian Aid, said of poor nations' strategy at a just-ended session of 180 nations in Bonn.
Hopes for a treaty have dimmed since U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders failed to agree a binding pact at a summit in Copenhagen in 2009.
Rich economies are reluctant to make substantial cuts in their emissions beyond 2012 without commitments from big developing economies like China and India to also curb their fast-rising emissions.
At issue now is what can be salvaged from the talks.
"This process is dead in the water," said Yvo de Boer, the former head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat who stepped down last year to work at KPMG, a consultancy and auditing firm.
"It's not going anywhere," he said during the June 6-17 talks in Bonn among negotiators trying to avert more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.
Disputes between rich and poor on sharing curbs in greenhouse gases mean gridlock over the Kyoto Protocol, the existing U.N. plan which obliges about 40 industrialized nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions until 2012.
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