Factions still poles apart in Copenhagen

With just a day and a half to go, there are still vast divisions to be overcome if a significant deal is to emerge from the COP15 climate talks in Copenhagen.

Speaking in back to back press conferences, representatives of the African group said they would be insisting on a legally binding Kyoto-style agreement while US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said her country was looking for an operational political agreement.

The crunch point is likely to be funding – with the US and others making it clear that the substantial pot of cash they are prepared to put on the table for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries will not materialise unless those countries see things their way.

Ms Clinton said the US was prepared to find its share of a fund in the region of $100bn per year if an effective agreement can be reached.

This is towards the lower end of the scale of funding suggested by the UK, France and others in the EU bloc, but still a significant sum.

It seems at a glance to be business as usual for UN politics – the rich countries offering juicy carrots to their poorer neighbours in return for an accord.

But there is a genuine feeling that the frustration of the wealthy states is real and that they do want to move things forward for the world as a whole.

“In the absence of an operational agreement, there will not be that kind of commitment of funds, at least from the US,” said Ms Clinton.

“We’re running out of time, we have to do everything we can to reach this agreement because in the absence of an agreement that binds everyone to their relative commitments and responsibilities there will not be the kind of concerted global action we so desperately need.”

Sam Bond

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