UN Climate Change Conference enters its final day

The UN Climate Change Conference is entering its final day, with diplomats struggling to find a last-minute deal on moves to cut carbon emissions. Negotiators have finalised details of the Kyoto Protocol and are discussing a proposal for talks on long-term cuts. But the US has reportedly taken offence at criticism from Canada's prime minister, who said Washington must listen to its global conscience. UK Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said a deal was still possible.

Japanese Environment Minister Yuriko Koike meanwhile called on developing countries to join in the fight against global warming and commit themselves to cuts in greenhouse gases. Countries like India and China are exempt from the targets agreed in the Kyoto treaty, which is aimed at developed nations. Indian negotiator Andimuthu Raja said growth and the elimination of poverty must take precedence over mitigating the effects of climate change.

Diplomats in the Canadian city of Montreal are discussing a proposal for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to launch talks focussing on commitments made under Kyoto after the treaty expires in 2012. The US, which walked out of Kyoto in 2001, is hostile to the moves.

Canadian Environment Minister Stephane Dion, who is chairing the talks, has been trying to persuade the US to agree to open-ended discussions about future co-operation without committing itself to firm targets such as those in Kyoto. Ms Beckett said that Washington might agree to some parts of the proposal at the last minute.

"It is absolutely clear that it is possible to get agreement here if there is the political will to do so," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "What is not yet clear - it never is at this stage - whether there is that political will. "The United States has a rhythm all its own - they say 'no' all the way through to the final 30 seconds and then sometimes they say 'well, yes to this bit, reports BBC news. I.L.

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