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article imageDeadlock at UN climate forum prompts US warning

By AFP     Dec 13, 2014 in World

The US warned Saturday that failure to compromise could doom a planned global pact and wreck the credibility of climate talks, which remained gridlocked in Lima.

"Failing to produce the decision before us will be seen as major breakdown and will deal a serious blow to... the hope of a Paris agreement," US envoy Todd Stern told fellow negotiators as the talks ran deep into an unscheduled 13th day.

"All we have achieved so far will be at risk, and all that we hope to achieve will be at risk as well," he warned.

"The success of this COP here in Lima is at stake," he said, using the jargon for the annual Conference of Parties held under the auspices of the 195-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"The success of next year's COP in Paris is at stake, and I think the future of the UNFCCC as the body to address climate change effectively at the international level is also at stake," Stern added.

Members of representative commissions of the countries participating in the climate change conferenc...
Members of representative commissions of the countries participating in the climate change conferences attend a meeting of the COP20 on December 13, 2014 in Lima, as they continue working on a final document draft
Cris Bouroncle, AFP

"The hourglass is running out."

Like other nations, Washington had concerns about some language in the draft text, he told colleagues, "but we have no time for lengthy negotiations and we all know that.

"I am quite certain we will live to regret it if we let the perfect be the enemy of the good here in Lima."

Negotiators have been gathered in the Peruvian capital since December 1 to thrash out a formula for nations to declare pledges from the first quarter of next year for curbing Earth-warming fossil fuel emissions.

They will form the backbone of a world climate pact that must be inked in Paris in December next year, to take effect from 2020.

- 'We have deadlock' -

The talks were due to have closed at 6:00 pm (2300 GMT) on Friday but the standoff continued by lunchtime Saturday.

"We have deadlock," China's Liu Zhenmin said in a plenary discussion.

"The differences are very considerable, we have two points of view which are opposed."

Representatives listen to COP20 President and Peruvian Minister of Environment Manuel Pulgar-Vidal o...
Representatives listen to COP20 President and Peruvian Minister of Environment Manuel Pulgar-Vidal on December 12, 2014, in Lima
Cris Bouroncle, AFP/File

China, he said, supported the objections expressed by developing nations on the lack of wording on "differentiation" -- the principle of dividing the burden for tackling climate change between rich and developing nations.

"The current text does not reflect the principle of... differentiation between developed and developing countries," said Liu.

The least-developed nations bloc, the African group of nations, Malaysia, Venezuela and others also said the draft failed to address questions of aid and financial support.

The draft was supported by the European Union (EU), Singapore, the United States and other developed countries.

After hours of country addresses to a plenary gathering, meeting chairman Artur Runge-Metzger declared "there is no consensus in the room."

He referred the draft text to Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who chairs the talks, "so he may lead consultation" on how to proceed.

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