Climate declaration by morning as deal inches nearer By Ben Nimmo

Climate declaration by morning as deal inches nearer By Ben Nimmo

United Nations talks on fighting global warming in Copenhagen should produce a single "umbrella declaration" defining the political points of the deal, world leaders said Friday as hopes for an agreement on the final summit day grew, dpa reported.

Hitherto, talks had focused on finalizing two separate legal texts. Leaders said that the umbrella text would be drafted by morning to give a clear political signal to negotiators what the main points of those two legal agreements should be.

"We had a long discussion on the fact that we must have a last effort to get a political agreement ... We asked (negotiators) to write the text overnight so we can look at it in the morning," Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told journalists.

Diplomats said that the declaration was expected to detail political commitments on key issues such as financing and greenhouse-gas emission cuts - elements which have so far eluded negotiators.

"Those are the main points" which will have to be solved, Reinfeldt acknowledged.

Leaders were set to debate the expected draft at 8 am (0700 GMT) on Friday in the hope of seeing it approved by the full conference.

   The call for a separate declaration came after a late-night mini-summit on the fringe of the UN talks which brought together some 26 leaders and top officials from powers such as China, India, Russia and the United States, as well as European and African leaders.

"It was a very constructive meeting, there were very good points from the African side, from many developing states," said Reinfeldt, who currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

Reinfeldt and the head of the EU's executive, Jose Manuel Barroso, called for the mini-meeting to try and ease the way towards a global deal on fighting climate change among some 120 world leaders gathered in the Danish capital.

The meeting came after a dramatic day in which talks first stalled, and then unexpectedly reached an apparent breakthrough as the United States and China made concessions on key issues.

First, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that her country would join efforts to raise funding of around 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to help poor countries deal with climate change - the first time a top US official has made such a move.

At the same time, she urged China to be "transparent" in reporting its greenhouse-gas emissions reductions so that other countries could feel confident that China was playing its part fairly.

US calls that China accept monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of its emissions have been a key stumbling block in talks.

But just hours after Clinton's speech, China's deputy foreign minister, Hu Yafei, said that his country promised "to make our actions transparent."

Lord Nicholas Stern, author of a key report on the economics of climate change, hailed the rapprochement as a potential breakthrough.

"I think they have solved that (row on MRV) through MRT, which is monitoring, reporting and transparency," he said.

The US and China are the world's biggest polluters and together account for about 40 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Stern also said that Clinton's offer of funding, coupled with an earlier African Union endorsement of the 100-billion-dollar aid figure, was another key step towards a deal.

"That is a move from developing countries and from rich countries on finance which shows people are ready to compromise," he said.

However, Clinton declined to say how much her country would contribute to such a fund, and insisted that the US offer hinged on a successful outcome in Copenhagen.

That led to questions from the Group of 77 (G77) poor countries.

"We acknowledge that this is a good signal, but we also acknowledge that it is still insufficient. We need more money, we need to equally ask where is the rest: What about the long-term finance?" G77 leaders asked.

With the US and Chinese positions apparently moving closer and the world's top leaders calling for a political statement to encapsulate the main features of a deal within hours, diplomats said that an agreement could well be within reach.

But Stern warned that it would still take a major political effort to clinch the final agreement in the last few hours of talks.

"The political leadership now has got a lot of work to do in the next 24 hours, a lot of responsibility to take. If they don't take that responsibility, I think it would be a grave dereliction of leadership," he said.

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