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Cancun talks will not see big climate deal - EU
BONN (Reuters) - A U.N. summit in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year will not result in a new climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, the co-head of the European Union's climate delegation said in an interview on Tuesday.
"It will not be the big deal. Hopefully it will be a big step forward to the deal," Artur Runge-Metzger told Reuters.
The Kyoto Protocol was agreed in 1997 to reduce greenhouse gases emitted by developed countries to at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.
Talks in Copenhagen last year failed to nail down a legally binding agreement to succeed the pact and talks this year have shown slow progress.
Some elements of a new climate treaty's architecture such as technology transfer, adaptation, the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions reductions should emerge at the Cancun summit, Runge-Metzger said.
"Then we will take the next step towards the next (summit)," he added, referring to a 2011 meeting in South Africa.
The latest round of U.N. climate talks in Bonn this week are the penultimate before the Cancun meeting. It is hoped that a new negotiating text will be on the table by Friday.
"The most important thing (this week) is to see a way forward on the negotiating text," Runge-Metzger said.
The EU is open to considering the option of two treaties instead of one to overcome an impasse between developing and rich nations.
"It is something we are able to consider on the condition that there is coverage of all major emitters and we want to see from developing countries sensible commitments to climate change," Runge-Metzger added.
Such commitments would not necessarily take the form of emissions reduction targets but rather a decline in their business-as-usual emissions.
This week, parties will also be discussing contingency options for if the world cannot agree on a new climate pact, creating a vacuum when Kyoto protocol expires.
"There is a big misconception on the gap. Many believe the Kyoto Protocol is coming to an end which is factually incorrect. There is no impediment for emissions trading to continue or the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism," Runge-Metzger said.
One proposal in a U.N. text in July was to make provisional changes to the treaty to avoid relying on lengthy, national approval.
However, this option could raise some constitutional issues which would make progress as difficult as a ratification process, the EU negotiator said.
"We only want to address the gap if it creates problems but things can continue without the Kyoto Protocol."
The EU's proposal to move to a 30 percent emissions reduction target by 2020 versus 1990 levels from its current 20 percent goal still stands and internal discussions have started within the 27-nation bloc.
"If offers from other countries are good enough it would prompt us to move forward," Runge-Metzger said.
Many countries have been waiting for the United States to show concrete action on climate change as the world's largest emitter before committing to higher targets.
Top U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern told Reuters on Monday the U.S. stands by its international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite its senate's failure to pass climate legislation.
(Editing by James Jukwey)
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