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Bonn U.N. Talks Seek To Avoid Deadlock Over Global Climate Agreement

Alister Doyle, Reuters

Governments will try on Monday to streamline an 89-page draft text of a U.N. deal to fight climate change due to be agreed in Paris in December, hoping to avoid the acrimony of the last failed attempt.

The 190-nation talks among senior officials in Bonn, from June 1-11, will try to narrow down vastly differing options, ranging from promises to slash greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 to vague pledges to curb rising emissions.

The talks are to prepare for a conference in Paris in six months’ time to agree a global deal to curb climate change that a U.N. panel blames for a rise in temperatures and more severe droughts, floods and rising sea levels.

Time is starting to run short to distil the draft, which has 4,232 lines of text and hundreds of brackets, into a meaningful document.

Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s climate change chief, said there was a far better atmosphere than in 2009, when a summit in Copenhagen broke down in acrimony.

“Instead of the blaming game that was Copenhagen, what is being built here is much more of an alliance, a broad collaboration among countries to get a deal together,” she told Reuters.

Bonn will be a test of whether a rare mood of harmony at the last meeting in Geneva in February can be sustained. In Geneva, all nations were allowed to add as many options as they wanted to the draft text to get all ideas on the table.

“We went away happy from Geneva. But so did everyone else because no hard decisions were made. Bonn will be much tougher,” one European negotiator said.

One problem is how to make the deal legally binding. Top emitters, led by China and the United States, favour a deal built from national pledges to cut emissions, anchored in domestic laws.

But many developing nations favour a binding international treaty. Bolivia even wants a new tribunal to punish violators.

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