Commentators are not hopeful that great progress will be made at the meeting, as the positions that led to the collapse of Copenhagen have galvanised rather than softened.

Nevertheless, it is seen as positive that the UN has managed to organise formal talks just four months after the last round.

Before his resignation following the disappointment of COP15, then-executive secretary of the UNFCCC Yvo de Boer said: “The decision to intensify the negotiating schedule underlines the commitment by governments to move the negotiations forward towards success in Cancun.

“This is further strengthened by the number of countries that have written to the secretariat with their country communications since Copenhagen.”

The meeting faces the same hurdles as the December talks.

Most developing countries still want a continuation of the UN process and are looking for a Kyoto-style agreement that sees industrialised countries reducing carbon emissions while emerging economies are allowed modest increases.

Several industrialised states, and America in particular, has suggested they are losing faith in the UN process saying a truly global consensus is a political impossibility.

The talks run until Sunday.

Sam Bond

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