World may not do climate deal this year

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Global climate talks may have to continue into 2011 after failing last month to agree on a Kyoto successor, the U.N.’s climate chief and Denmark’s new climate minister told Reuters on Friday.

A worker clears water hyacinths in Yaojiang River in Ningbo, Zhejiang province November 25, 2009. REUTERS/Steven Shi

The world failed to commit in Copenhagen last month to succeed or extend the existing Kyoto Protocol from 2013. The U.N.’s top climate official, Yvo de Boer, could not guarantee a deal in Mexico, the next scheduled ministerial meeting.

A lack of trust and the economic crisis complicated prospects for a deal in Mexico in December, added President Felipe Calderon, the prospective host of those talks.

“Whether we can achieve that in Mexico or need a bit more time remains to be seen and will become clearer in the course of the year,” de Boer said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where executives said they would invest in low-carbon technologies regardless of a global climate deal.

“It’s very difficult to pin down. One of the lessons from Copenhagen was don’t rush it, take the time you need to get full engagement of all countries and make sure people are confident about what is being agreed.”

India’s top climate envoy Shyam Saran said on Thursday that that the world would “probably not” agree an ambitious deal this year unless the global economy improved.

Deadlock last month centered on how far big emerging economies should follow the industrialized world and enforce binding actions to fight climate change.

Denmark holds the presidency of the U.N. process until the Cancun meeting. Its new climate minister, Lykke Friis, agreed it was too soon to be sure of success in Mexico.

“The ultimate goal is to reach a legally binding deal but it’s too early to say if it will be done in Mexico. No-one has the complete game plan to get to Cancun, that’s what we’re trying to find out now.”

Denmark still did not know how much each industrialized country would contribute of about $30 billion to help developing nations fight climate change from 2010-2012, as agreed in the final “Copenhagen Accord,” she added.

Mexico would do their best, said Calderon.

“My perception is that the lack of consensus is related to the economic problems in each nation, because there are economic costs associated with the task to tackle climate change.

“We want in Cancun a robust, comprehensive and substantial agreement,” by all 193 signatories of the U.N.’s climate convention, he said.

“We need to try to learn from our mistakes ... we need to return trust and confidence between the parties.”

The U.N.’s de Boer said countries must arrange additional meetings this year, in addition to the two already timetabled in Bonn in June, and then in Mexico if they wanted agreement.

De Boer said he was “very happy” to receive confirmation yesterday from the United States that it had beaten a January 31 deadline to submit formally its planned carbon cuts, to be written into the non-binding Copenhagen Accord.

For a factbox of all pledges submitted so far to the United Nations, double-click here -- [ID:nLDE60S0UY]

Reporting by Gerard Wynn, Editing by Mike Peacock