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General

Cancun climate talks closer to accord despite Bolivian opposition

media Bolivian President Evo Morales addresses a fringe meeting at the Cancun AFP/Cris Bouroncle

UN-led climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, took a step closer to agreement, with two key committees approving an agreement, despite furious opposition by Bolivia. The agreement sets up a 100-billion-dollar (75-billion-euro) fund to administer aid pledges for countries worst affected by climate change and calls for "deep cuts" in carbon emissions.

“We and the people we represent were not able to have our options discussed,” the BoliviaUN tweeted, accusing Mexican Foreign Secretary and Cancun talks chief Patricia Espinosa of pushing through the draft.

Bolivia, which organised conferences of indigenous and peasants’ movements on the global warming, wants a limit of 1°C in world temperatures, half the level of 2009’s non-binding Copenhagen accord.

Agreements are supposed to be made by consensus but Espinosa argued that does not give Bolivia the right to block an agreement.

"The rule of consensus doesn't mean unanimity, and even less the possiblity that a delegation can expect to impose a right of veto on the will that has been reached by so much work," she said to applause at the two-week conference.

"Bolivia isn't ready to sign up to a document which means a rise in temperature which will put more humans in a near-death situation," said Bolivian negotiator Pablo Solon, claming that it could allow a rise of more than 4°C.

Solon accused the US of being behind a “dirty war” to isolate his country and railroad through a text which “is basically the Copenhagen agreement which the United States promoted”.

La Paz’s traditional left-wing Latin American allies, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, called for its position to be held but did not reject the text outright.

Environmental campaigners tend to agree with Bolivia.

Friends of the Earth slammed the prospective agreement as "wholly inadequate". It blamed big polluters like the US and Russia for limiting its aims and called for a deal in which "rich countries reduce emissions by at least 40 per cent with no role for carbon markets, offsets and loopholes".

"This is a slap in the face of those who already suffer from climate change," said the group's chair Nnimmo Bassey. "But in the end all of us will be affected by the lack of ambition and political will of a small group of countries.”

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