Carve out clear options, UN climate talks told

Carve out clear options, UN climate talks told

Barcelona: Negotiators meeting for a final session before a worldwide conference on climate change were urged on Tuesday to craft simple, clear options for politicians facing next month’s haggle in Copenhagen.

“The clock has almost ticked down to zero and, as always, time will fly," the head of the UN’s climate convention, Yvo de Boer, warned the 192-nation forum, meeting in Barcelona until Friday.

“These last five days are critical on the road to success to Copenhagen. They need to be used wisely."

Senior officials have been meeting over the last two years under a “road map" leading to the 7-18 December showdown in Copenhagen.

If all goes well, it will craft a new pact on climate change beyond 2012, when current pledges expire under the Kyoto Protocol.

But the negotiations are mired in discord.

Rich countries and poor countries are squabbling over how to apportion curbs in carbon emissions, finance a switch to lower-pollution technology and shore up defences against climate change.

Successive rounds have given birth to a baffling, bloated draft text, thick with brackets denoting discord.

Connie Hedegaard, Danish minister for climate and energy, who will chair the Copenhagen talks, urged negotiators to “cut the plenaries short and go directly to smaller negotiating groups and informals" to spur progress.