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Building blocks missing for 2015 climate pact: ministers

BONN--The clock is ticking for countries to lay the foundations of a 2015 deal to tackle dangerous climate change, ministers warned in Bonn on Friday.

A special U.N. summit in September, followed by a round of talks in Lima in December, must lay the first bricks of a highly complex accord due to be sealed in Paris in December 2015, they said.

China's top negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, pointed to traumatic memories of the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, the last time countries tried to forge a worldwide deal on curbing Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The much-touted event became a near-fiasco when heads of state were confronted with a sprawling, fiercely contested draft agreement at the last minute.

“We hope we do not see a recurrence of the Copenhagen scenario ... (with) a final agreement that is accepted by some parties but not accepted by others,” Xie said.

Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who will chair the December 1-12 meeting, urged colleagues gathered for an interim round of negotiations in Bonn since Wednesday to “commit to commit.”

“This train is moving and we cannot wait until Paris to get onboard,” he said.

The Paris agreement is meant to set the cap on years of haggling among the 195 parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Taking effect from 2020, the pact must curb heat-trapping emissions from fossil fuels that are damaging Earth's fragile climate, amplifying risks from drought, flood, storms and rising seas.

Negotiators hope that the Lima deal, at the very least, will agree on rules for vetting and comparing national pledges that will form the core of the pact.

Assessing the Promises

The pledges will be a disparate mix of promises to curb emissions, bolster climate defenses, boost funds for vulnerable countries and transfer cleaner technology to the developing world.

There is a big technical challenge in ensuring that individual national efforts are verifiable and comparable, to avoid accusations that some countries are getting a free ride.

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