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U.N. climate talks produce draft text in final push

U.N. climate talks produce draft text in final push
FILE PHOTO: COP24 President Michal Kurtyka attends plenary session at the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland December 11, 2018. Agencja Gazeta/Grzegorz Celejewski via REUTERS -
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AGENCJA GAZETA(Reuters)
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By Bate Felix and Agnieszka Barteczko

KATOWICE, Poland (Reuters) – Negotiators from nearly 200 countries produced a draft text on Thursday on how to implement the Paris Agreement on combating global warming, but some disputes remain with only one day left before the official end of the conference.

The presidency of the climate talks in Katowice, Poland, had asked for a draft of the final package to be ready by Thursday afternoon after almost two weeks of negotiations, but work continued into the evening to get it ready.

The draft lays out options on ways to implement the 2015 Paris pact which aims to limit global warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius.

“We can implement the Paris Agreement as you all designed it. It is now time to move forward. We need to move. Climate change will not wait for us,” Poland’s Michal Kurtyka, president of the talks, told delegates.

Ministers are expected to continue working on sticking points through the night into Friday.

Disputes over finance have been a stumbling block at the talks, as well as monitoring and reporting countries’ efforts to reduce emissions. The United States, which intends to withdraw from the pact, is trying to ensure a level playing field for U.S. businesses against China.

“Money is the most difficult part of it. This is all money talk. This (meeting) is about technical decisions although it turned political,” one delegate told Reuters.

Groups of small island states and poorer countries, representing over 920 million people, issued a statement to Kurtyka expressing their frustration with the slow pace and lack of ambition of the talks.

“(We are) deeply concerned over the direction in which the outcomes … are heading,” the statement said, adding that a robust rulebook is needed to ensure ambitious emissions cuts are made.

The text still contains some wording in brackets, denoting it has yet to be agreed, but less than previous drafts.

The talks are formally scheduled to end on Friday but in the past they have often over-run into the weekend.

(Writing by Nina Chestney; editing by David Stamp)

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