The United Nations climate change summit has launched talks that will pave the way for a new global warming pact by 2009.

The news followed a sudden, dramatic U-turn by the United States. The US delegation had, moments earlier, rejected changes proposed by poor countries that their need for technological help from rich nations and other issues receive greater recognition in the document launching the negotiations.

But after delegates criticised the US stand and urged a reconsideration, the US delegation relented. "I think we have come a long way here," said Paula Dobriansky, head of the American delegation.

"In this, the United States is very committed to this effort and just wants to really ensure we all act together. We will go forward and join consensus.",,-7154922,00.html

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the outcome of the landmark United Nations Climate Change Convention in Bali, Indonesia, in which 187 countries today agreed to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations on strengthening international efforts to fight, mitigate and adapt to the problem of global warming.

After almost two weeks of marathon discussions, delegates have agreed on both the agenda for the negotiations and a 2009 deadline for completing them so that a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions can
enter into effect in 2013.

Under the so-called Bali Roadmap, the key issues during the upcoming negotiations will be: taking action to adapt to the negative consequences of climate change, such as droughts and floods; devising ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; finding ways to deploy climate-friendly technology; and financing adaptation and mitigation measures.

Participating countries have also agreed on a series of steps that can be taken immediately to strengthen their commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), such as combating deforestation in poor
countries, the scaling up of investment in green technology and enhancing funding for adaptation measures.

The text does not specify or mandate emissions targets, but it does say that deep cuts in emissions will be needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

In a statement issued after the Bali Roadmap was adopted, Mr. Ban called it a pivotal first step toward an agreement that can address the threat of climate change, the defining challenge of our time, adding that the agreement had met all the benchmarks for success he set out when the Conference began.


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