UN talks to set climate goals continue in 2008

Delegates at an international conference in Nairobi have agreed to continue talks in 2008 to set a post-Kyoto timetable to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Delegates atan international conference in Nairobi have reached a preliminary agreement tomeet again in 2008toset a timetable to cut greenhouse gas emissions afterthe Kyoto Protocol expires in2012, Germany's environment minister said Friday.

Sigmar Gabriel said he was disappointed with the preliminary agreement because the world needs to take a stronger stand against emissions.

"It is not enough what we reached in the conference,"Gabrieltold reporters in Kenya at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which began two weeks ago. "Urgent action is necessary."

Under the preliminary deal, reached on the final day of the two-week meeting, China received assurances that future meetings would not result in mandatory emissions cutbacks for developing nations.

Delegates are expected to endorse the preliminary agreement later Friday.

China and India, among other countries, have balked at the idea of talks that would force developing nations to cut back their emissions.

Delegates from more than 190 countries have been meeting for two weeks to review emissions-lowering targets set by the Kyoto Protocol until 2012. Greenhouse gas emissions are believed to be responsible for global warming.

Barbara Helfferich, a spokesperson for the European Union, said 2008 is a good year for a review. It would look at the science and size of the cuts needed and would also ensure that cuts would continue.

If it's done by 2008, "we're well on our way to a new climate-change regime," Helfferich said.

Before the preliminary agreement, environmentalists were calling the conference a failure, because it had not yet set a timetable to cap emissions after Kyoto expires.

"We are not seeing the bold leadership required. Further delay is totally irresponsible," Catherine Pearce, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth International, said Friday.

Canada's Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has been a target of criticism at the conference.

Environmentalists have awarded Canada two Fossil of the Day awards for misleading the public on its climate change obligations and blaming the previous Liberal government for not doing enough on the issue.

The Harper government has said it thinks it will not be able to meet its targets set under Kyoto, making Canada the first country to say publicly it is reneging on its targets.

Under Kyoto, which was signed by a previous Liberal government and came into effect in February 2005, Canada committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions six per cent from 1990 levels by 2012.

But the Conservatives backed away from Kyoto after getting into power in January, saying the commitments couldn't be achieved and pointing out that Canada's emissions have actually risen some 35 per cent since 1990.

They instead proposed a clean air act in October that aims to cut the emissions by between 45 and 65 per cent from 2003 levels by 2050.

On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Nelly Olin said she was "extremely disappointed" with Canada's new position on cutting greenhouse gases.

With files from the Associated Press