COPENHAGEN - There’s not enough time to strike a detailed and binding deal at next month’s Copenhagen conference on climate change, but nations say it still can succeed if all 192 countries can agree on two sets of numbers.
Those numbers - how much money will be given to poor countries to adapt to global warming and how much industrial countries will reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 years - are highly contentious, and there’s no guarantee that even the scaled-back ambition for a political agreement can be reached.
Cabinet ministers and top negotiators from 40 key countries convened yesterday for two days of meetings to prepare for the UN conference in the Danish capital, but were unlikely to try to set those specific numbers. That will remain for the summit next month.
But other crunch issues required discussion, officials said. Key among them was how financing - more than $100 billion a year within a decade - will be raised and delivered to countries in need. Also critical was how major emerging economies like India and China can help fight climate change, and how their contributions can be part of an international accord.
President Obama and other leaders at an Asia Pacific summit last week affirmed the growing belief that the December deadline set two years ago for a completed climate accord is out of reach, and reset the goal for Copenhagen as a political deal.
But that agreement would cover all the essential elements, leaving only the legal and technical details to be filled in later, Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen told Obama and the others on Sunday.
“We cannot do half a deal in Copenhagen and postpone the rest till later,’’ he said in comments released by his office. “We need the commitments. We need the figures. We need the action.’’