LONDON - World leaders must intervene to rescue flagging climate talks by brokering in person a deal to combat global warming in Copenhagen in December, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday.
Brown is one of the few leaders of the major economies who has announced plans to go to the U.N.-led December 7-18 conference, which is supposed agree curbs on greenhouse gas emissions and how to help poor countries cope with climate change.
"Success at Copenhagen is still within reach. But if we falter, the earth itself will be at risk," Brown told representatives of 17 of the world's main polluting nations, gathered in London.
Environment ministers aim to sign a global pact to extend or replace the existing Kyoto Protocol. But talks preparing for Copenhagen are bogged down in complex drafts and mutual suspicion between industrialised and developing nations.
"Over the remaining weeks to Copenhagen and in the two weeks of the conference itself I will work tirelessly with fellow leaders to negotiate a deal," said Brown. "I've said I'll go to Copenhagen, and I'm encouraging them to make the same commitment."
The London meeting is the latest in a U.S.-instigated major economies forum (MEF) series meant to bolster momentum in the U.N. process. Many analysts and politicians doubt the world can agree a deal in December, arguing for example that domestic U.S. legislation won't be in place in time to form a firm U.S. offer.
The two-year U.N. talks launched in Bali, Indonesia in 2007 are particularly stuck on how big carbon cuts rich nations should make by 2020, and how much they should pay developing countries to prepare for and slow global warming.
"Leaders must engage directly to break the impasse," said Brown. "I believe agreement at Copenhagen is possible. But we must frankly face the plain fact that our negotiators are not getting to agreement quickly enough."
The London talks focussed on how to turn a patchwork of national policy plans into an international deal, as well as on climate finance and technology cooperation, Todd Stern, Washington's top climate envoy, said on Sunday.
Stern could not confirm that the United States itself would bring either a concrete emissions reduction target or a funding offer to Copenhagen.