They know it won't happen but it will take the heat off them to cut their emissions. They must be having a quiet laugh to themselves

Finding money to help poor countries pay for new energy technology that doesn't contribute to global warming is the most difficult task facing negotiators as United Nations climate change talks began today, said U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy.

Financing works "hand in glove" with establishing carbon dioxide-emissions cuts for developing countries, which will be responsible for most of the world's output of greenhouse gases in the coming decades, said Todd Stern, the chief U.S. climate negotiator. "The financing issue is extremely important in our judgment," he said. "What's vital in general is that the developing countries leapfrog the carbon intensity path, and for that they'll need help."

Delegates from 175 countries are struggling to close the gap between their positions on financing and other issues, including setting CO2 cutting goals, in Bonn this week. Obama's delegation is participating for the first time in climate talks and promises to work toward a "robust deal" when the talks wind up in Copenhagen at the end of the year. "This is a new start for the U.S. delegation and the start of a new hope to solve the problem of climate change," said Matthias Machnig, Germany's deputy environment minister, during a speech to the 2,600 delegates and participants at the start of talks today.

While Obama has pledged greater emissions cuts than his predecessor, George W. Bush, the reductions fall short of what's needed to tackle the problem, China's lead negotiator, Su Wei, said in an interview before the start of the 10-day talks in Bonn, Germany. "The U.S. has become more positive than the previous administration: I think they are going in the right direction," Su said in a telephone interview. "Still, we're waiting for very firm climate policy from the U.S., including very clear medium-term targets. All of the parties are waiting for that."

A global climate treaty to reduce CO2 emissions and replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol must focus on later targets, not just 2020 goals, said Stern. The U.S. favors slashing emissions of heat-trapping gases to 1990 levels by 2020.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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