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April 5, 2008

Agenda set for global warming pact

The five-day meeting in Bangkok on climate change saw negotiators finally come to an agreement on the agenda for further talks Saturday which could lead to a global warming pact after overcoming a dispute between Japan and developing countries on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The schedule came after five days of marathon talks in Bangkok and requires negotiators to settle contentious issues, including how countries will cut emissions and how rich nations will help the poor adapt to climate change.

"Not only do we have the certainty that critical issues will be addressed this year, we now have the bite-sized chunks which will allow us to negotiate in an effective manner," the Associated Press quoted UN climate chief Yvo de Boer as saying.

Delegates also welcomed the agreement but warned significant disagreements remain over demands from the US and Japan for developing countries to accept binding targets as part of a pact to stabilise greenhouse gases in the next 10 to 15 years and cut them in half by 2050.

"We can live with the work program but the negotiations ahead will be tough, very tough," said Prodipto Ghosh, a member of the Indian delegation. "There are wide divergences between different groups over the nature of the conclusions to be reached."

Representatives from 163 countries met in Bangkok for the first negotiations on a pact meant to take effect after 2012. Scientists say quick action is needed to prevent the worsening floods, droughts and violent storms that would affect billions of people worldwide in a warming world.

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