* Agenda for work on new global climate deal is adopted
* Agreement breaks week-long deadlock over procedure
* Mistrust between countries remains
* Urgent climate action needed to limit global warming
(Adds further context, quotes)
By Nina Chestney
BONN, May 25 More than 180 countries agreed on
an agenda for work on a new climate treaty by 2015 at United
Nations climate talks on Friday, breaking a deadlock over
procedure, but mistrust remains that could threaten progress for
the rest of the year.
"(The workplan) was not an easy issue to agree (on)," U.N.
climate chief Christiana Figueres told reporters after the
negotiations held at Bonn in Germany.
"All parties needed reassurances from each other to allow
them to undertake the work with a certain sense of comfort."
U.N. climate talks in South Africa last year agreed a
package of measures that would extend the 1997 Kyoto Protocol
after it expires at the end of this year and decide a new,
legally binding accord to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by
2015, coming into force by 2020.
In the Bonn talks, the first negotiation session since that
deal was struck, delegates have argued for over a week on how to
organise work on a new climate deal and appoint a chair to steer
Procedural wrangling during the two-week session, attended
by national negotiating teams below ministerial level, has shown
there is mistrust among participants and heaps pressure on
ministerial talks in Doha, Qatar, at the end of the year to
deliver, observers said.
"When people start fighting about agendas it is a symptom of
lack of trust and of some pretty substantive areas of
disagreement," said Celine Charveriat, director of advocacy and
campaigns at international development charity Oxfam.
The European Union and others have accused China, along with
other developing countries, of "procedural blocking" or trying
to backtrack on the Durban deal by altering the approach to
One initiative, an attempt to bring discussion on emissions
cuts by both rich and poor countries into one forum, rather than
keep it in two separate negotiating tracks, is no longer an
obstacle to progress but others may emerge.
"We cleared a difficult hurdle here. There is no doubt that
it will be the first of many, and we must remember that time is
not on our side," said Sai Navoti, lead negotiator for the
Alliance of Small Island States, which represents small nations
most vulnerable to global warming.
On the other side, developing countries accuse the United
States, the EU and other rich nations of trying to avoid making
deeper emissions cuts and dodging increases in finance to help
poorer nations deal with climate change.
Environmentalist groups and countries that are particularly
vulnerable to the effects of climate change warn time is running
out to avert disastrous consequences like increased extreme
weather, ocean acidification and glacier melts.
Meanwhile a lot of work remains for this year, including
agreeing on the length of an extension of the Kyoto Protocol,
which nations will sign up to it and their level of emissions
cut ambitions, as well as the means to raise $100 billion a year
of finance by 2020 to help developing countries tackle climate
Countries have agreed that deep emissions cuts are needed to
limit a rise in global average temperature to less than 2
degrees Celsius this century above pre-industrial levels, a
threshold that scientists say is the minimum required to avert
However, one of the main contributors to global warming,
global carbon dioxide emissions, hit a record high last year,
according to the International Energy Agency, which advises
Some countries also look set to miss their emissions cut
targets for 2020, putting the world on a dangerous trajectory
towards a rise in global average temperature of 3.5 degree
Celsius, research showed on Thursday.
"The majority of countries want to move forwards faster
but..a relatively small group is holding up what the rest of the
room wants," said the European Union's chief negotiator Artur
Only six months remain before the Doha meeting. Some nations
want extra negotiating sessions before then but between 4.4
million euros and 4.8 million euros of funding will have to be
pledged by countries by Monday to guarantee that, Figueres said.
Some small steps forward were made at the talks.
"The positive thing is there is discussion around more
ambitious emissions cuts (to 2020) but that needs to be
translated into action. At least no country thinks it can evade
the issue," said Oxfam's Charveriat.
"Countries are still under pressure to continue substantive
deliberation to allow them to go to Doha with a draft
(negotiating) text," Figueres added.
(Editing by Anthony Barker)