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Delegates agree on climate report

They say they resisted pressure and mainly stuck to the draft version.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 4, 2007


BANGKOK, Thailand - International delegates reached an agreement early today on the best ways to combat climate change, despite efforts by China to water down language on cutting destructive greenhouse gas emissions.

The closed-door debate over everything from nuclear power to the cost of cleaner energy ran into the early morning hours with quibbling over wording. But consensus was eventually reached on a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. network of 2, 000 scientists and delegates from more than 120 nations.

China, the world's second-largest greenhouse gas emitter after the United States, took a strong stance during the four-day meeting in Thailand.

A draft proposed that the world limit concentrations of greenhouse gases to between 445 parts per million and 650 parts per million, but China sought to strike the lower range over fears it would hinder its booming economy, Michael Muller, Germany's vice minister for the environment, said before the agreement was reached.

According to a partial version of the finalized document obtained by the Associated Press, China's efforts failed.

The United States remained surprisingly quiet on most issues, but some delegates said it appeared to be content letting China take the lead. However, the U.S. delegation was vocal over the role nuclear power could play in efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. European nations were concerned about associated security risks.

The report is the third segment of an overall IPCC blueprint that will shape the way the world tackles global warming. Delegates said the final version largely resembled a draft that said emissions can be cut below current levels if the world shifts away from carbon-heavy fuels like coal, embraces energy efficiency and significantly reduces deforestation.