advance on ozone

BONN - UN climate chief Yvo de Boer expressed optimism that stalled climate change negotiations could resume despite the failure of last year's summit in Copenhagen.

"I believe progress is possible," De Boer, pictured, said yesterday at an informal three-day climate change conference in Bonn.

The aim was to establish a "functioning architecture", De Boer said of the next UN climate change summit, which takes place at the end of the year in the Mexican city of Cancun. This in turn could form the basis for a new treaty.

De Boer said it was important to have "realistic expectations" after the lessons learned in Copenhagen, where the US and China spearheaded a deal that contained no binding targets and left key issues unanswered.

"The perfect is the enemy of the good," De Boer said, adding that the Cancun summit should aim to set initial goals on the reduction of greenhouse gases, financial aid for poorer countries and the transfer of "green" technologies to the developing world.

However, he conceded that Cancun would be just one step of many, and said it was too soon to reach agreement on ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions to a level that would help halt global warming.

"The battle to address climate change is a longer one," De Boer added.

He said it was important to hold meetings such as the one currently underway - the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, named after the luxury hilltop hotel near the former German capital of Bonn where the talks are being held.

Such informal gatherings built up trust between negotiators parties, helping to move talks forward.

Government representatives from more than 40 countries are attending the three-day talks, hosted by the German government. - Sapa-dpa