(Reuters) - The United Nations aims to launch a two-year drive at talks in Bali, Indonesia to bind rich and poor nations to a global fight against climate change.
But the problem will be finding a common formula.
The December 3-14 U.N. climate talks will pit China, India and other developing nations against industrial nations led by the United States, the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases. Poorer countries accuse Washington of failing to take the lead in cutting emissions and don't want to sacrifice economic growth.
Following are the negotiating platforms for the main groups at Bali.
The U.N.'s latest Human Development Report, released on Tuesday, included some of the strongest calls yet for collective action to avert catastrophic climate change, which would disproportionately affect the poor.
The authors called for industrialised nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. Developing nations needed to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.
"The message for Bali is the world cannot afford to wait," Kevin Watkins, a senior research fellow at Oxford University and lead author of the report, told Reuters.
The United Nations wants the world to agree a new deal on climate change at a U.N. conference in Copenhagen in late 2009 after two years of negotiations starting in Bali.
CHINA - The world's No.2 carbon emitter, drawing level with the United States, says rich countries are responsible for most of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and they should take the lead in cuts. China is loath to agree to firm targets that could restrain its break-neck economic growth, and wants rich countries to transfer more emissions-reducing technology.
Many other developing nations, including India, share a similar stance. Brazil says the West should pay to help curb climate change by protecting tropical forests. Brazil, a major ethanol producer, criticises the United States for its import duties on biofuels.
UNITED STATES - President George W. Bush opposes the Kyoto Protocol, saying it unfairly omitted 2012 emissions goals for developing nations and would damage the U.S. economy. He has instead stressed big investments in cleaner technologies such as hydrogen or "clean" coal. In June, he agreed with his industrial allies in the Group of Eight on a need for "substantial cuts" in emissions and to push for a new U.N. climate deal in 2009.
EUROPEAN UNION - The EU has committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. It also pledged to increase that to a 30 percent cut if other nations join in. The EU hopes to persuade the United States and other big economies to move toward binding targets to halt and cut emissions blamed for heating the earth.
AUSTRALIA - The new leader of the world's top coal exporter says his government will now ratify Kyoto as fast as possible, leaving the United States as the only major industrialised nation not to back the pact. Kevin Rudd will go to Bali to take part in negotiations.
The Maldives and other small island states say emissions from big polluters are causing seas to rise and threaten their very existence. They want the United Nations to assess whether a link exists between failure to tackle climate change and human rights.
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