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The chance of a climate change agreement this year is remote because the United States and China are unwilling to make more commitments during the talks, India’s environment minister said Sunday.

The last U.N. conference on climate change in Copenhagen last December was seen as deeply disappointing as a deep rift showed between industrialized nations and developing countries.

The toughest issues — cutting greenhouse gases, creating a system of financial aid from rich to poor countries, and measuring both — still need consideration. The next major U.N. climate conference is in Cancun, Mexico, in December.

“The prospect of a breakthrough in 2010 is very, very remote,” Jairam Ramesh told reporters in Beijing after finishing talks with his Chinese counterpart. India is the world’s fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases and one of the largest players in securing any deal.

“We’ve reached virtually a dead end” with neither the United States nor China — the world’s top two emitters of heat-trapping greenhouse gases — unwilling to make any firm commitments, Ramesh said.

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