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Climate talks stepping up to higher level

| December 5, 2010 8:00 PM

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) - The slow-moving U.N. talks on combating global warming took a step forward Saturday with revised proposals for a $100 billion-a-year climate aid fund and other issues for debate by the world's environment ministers this week.

Despite that advance, the chairwoman of key closed-door negotiations warned the open conference that obstacles remain to what delegates hope will be a package of decisions next Friday on financial and other side matters under the U.N. climate treaty.

Environment ministers began flying in Saturday for the final days of the annual two-week climate conference, hoping to put new life in the U.N. talks.

In one sign of the work facing them, only 170 words had been undisputed among the 1,300 on two pages of a key text on the "shared vision" of what the treaty nations want to accomplish.

Some parties, for example, want the world to reduce emissions of global warming gases so that temperatures don't rise more than 3.6 degrees Farenheit above preindustrial levels, beyond which scientists say serious damage from climate change would set in. Others want to aim even lower, at 2.7 degrees above preindustrial levels - a position favored by island states and others most threatened by warming's impacts, such as sea-level rise.

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