Growing anxiety as end of UN climate talks nears

Climate, iceberg

Negotiators and observers gathered in Copenhagen for the second week of talks on a global post-2012 climate agreement were feeling increasingly frustrated after discussions resumed on Monday with no prospect of real progress on Tuesday.

The Danish host of the UN talks managed to bring a group of developing countries back to the negotiating table by launching informal discussions on crunch issues such as industrialised nations' emission reduction targets under Copenhagen's Kyoto track.

Progress is being hampered by mistrust and suspicions among developing countries that industrialised nations are trying to force a deal upon them. On Tuesday, a Chinese official said they had "put forward a plethora" of demands on developing countries.

The next 24 hours will be crucial. There are growing fears that no agreement will be reached as the end of the talks nears. Junior British minister Joan Ruddock said "too much effort was spent on discussing process and not enough on substance" on Monday.

On Tuesday, each of seven key issues identified by Denmark will be discussed by a group headed by one minister from a developed country and one from a developing nation. UK minister Ed Miliband and his Ghanaian counterpart are co-chairing talks on climate financing.

Discussions on developed country targets under Kyoto are led by ministers from Indonesia and Germany. Ministers from Grenada and Spain are co-chairing talks on long-term emission cuts. Other issues (trade issues, bunker fuels) are led by Singapore and Norway.

Hopes increasingly rest on world leaders who will arrive in Copenhagen at the end of the week. British prime minister Gordon Brown will arrive earlier on Tuesday evening at the start of the summit's high level segment in an attempt to break the deadlock.

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