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Climate talks end in failure

International talks which aim to break the deadlock on climate change have largely failed.


Two weeks of UN-sponsored climate talks in Bangkok will wrap up tonight, without the breakthrough negotiators were seeking.

The talks aimed to make progress ahead of the crucial UN summit in Copenhagen in December, at which a new climate pact is due to be signed.

Will McGoldrick, who works for the Australian-based Climate Institute and has been at the Bangkok talks, said only “baby steps” had been made.

The two big sticking points are the targets nations will adopt to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and how rich countries will fund poor ones to tackle climate change.

“Bangkok has made cautious progress on some of the elements, but nowhere near enough progress on those two core issues,” Mr McGoldrick told AAP from the Thai capital.

Some progress has been made on technological cooperation and forests.

Financing for poor nations needed

But it was now clear that little progress on reduction targets would be made until rich nations such as Australia made commitments about financing poor countries, Mr McGoldrick said.

“It does turn the spotlight onto countries like Australia who have yet to really make a credible contribution on finance.”

Tony Mohr, from the Australian Conservation Foundation, who has been at the talks, said Australia had been active on some issues, pushing for a deal on cutting emissions from international aviation and shipping.

Australia was also negotiating over its proposal to allow developing nations to make discrete pledges in relation to renewable energy or forests, instead of economy-wide emissions targets.

But Australia had to make a commitment on financing to boost negotiations, Mr Mohr said.

Fresh mandate

A spokeswoman for Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said negotiators would need fresh mandates and political leadership as Copenhagen approached.

“We are a long way from where we need to be and we don’t have much time,” she said.

There is one more session of UN talks before Copenhagen, at Barcelona, in November.

Attention will now turn to other forums – the Major Economies Forums and the G20 – for a breakthrough.

Observers say it will take intervention from world leaders to fire up the stalled negotiations.

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