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Post-Copenhagen quest for global warming accord stuck in reverse

Negotiators seeking to lay the groundwork for a global warming summit in Mexico in November appear to be moving further from consensus.

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A participant of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) unwinds in the conference room after the end of the conference in Bonn, Germany, Aug. 6. The conference is held in preparation of the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, which will take place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10.

Oliver Berg/Newscom

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With 3-1/2 months left before a United Nations climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, the spade work ahead of the meeting seems to be turning up more boulders than a New England plow.

Last week, negotiators from 194 countries met in Bonn, Germany, and made little progress in any of six broad areas covered by a join-if-you-like plan that emerged from last December's climate negotiations in Copenhagen.

Instead, it appears that the most significant progress on some issues will take place outside the UN process, where key countries are working to set up a "quick-start" adaptation fund for developing countries and approaches to increase efforts to combat deforestation.

Ironically, some specialists say, UN negotiations are becoming the venue for smaller sets of countries to work on these outside efforts.

If the size of the current UN negotiating text is any indication, the process to have been thrown into reverse – at least for now.

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