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Copenhagen climate change talks stall as CO2 emissions rise

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"We still need more movement," said UN Climate Change head Yvo de Boer in Denmark on Tuesday. "Industrialized countries must raise their targets and financial commitments further... I look to the United States for a numerical mid-term target."

In recent weeks leaders in key countries have signalled that no one should look for a treaty to be approved in Copenhagen next month – a clear hope coming out of global climate talks in Bali in December 2007.

On Sunday Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen suggested that countries aim for a more limited political agreement on reducing emissions and building a financial-aid regime for developing countries, with a legally-binding treaty put off until high-level talks in December 2010 in Mexico City. The UN's Mr. de Boer has said he prefers to see a legal document ready for approval in Bonn sometime in mid-2010.

Emissions up in recession

Despite the global economic slowdown last year, emissions rose 2 percent in 2008. The Global Carbon Project estimates that 2009's deep economic contraction trimmed global emissions by nearly 3 percent, but that short term dip is expected to reverse once recovery takes hold.

Noting that population growth and efforts to improve the standard of living in developing countries are among the underlying forces driving rising emissions, the need to cut CO2 emissions "is a very urgent task," says Taro Takahashi, a researcher at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and one of the study's authors.

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