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THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS - page 16 / 62

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Beijing objects to any language suggesting a cap on emissions or stabilisation levels, wording it feels could leave it vulnerable to demands in future climate talks to slow rapid economic growth or spend vast sums on cleaner technology.

The report is the third to be released this year by the UN panel, which draws on the work of 2,500 scientists.

The previous two painted a grim future of human-induced global warming causing more hunger, droughts, heatwaves and rising seas.

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Associated Press: Deal reached on climate change report

[also appearing in CNN]

POSTED: 0604 GMT (1404 HKT), May 4, 2007

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BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- International delegates reached an agreement early Friday on the best ways to combat climate change despite efforts by China to water down language on cutting destructive greenhouse gas emissions.

The closed-door debate over everything from nuclear power to the cost of cleaner energy ran into the early morning hours with quibbling over wording. But consensus was eventually reached on a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. network of 2,000 scientists and delegates from more than 120 nations.

"It's all done," said Peter Lukey, a member of the South Africa delegation. "Everything we wanted to see was there and more. The message is: We have to do something now." (Watch what proposals could help save the planet )

China, the world's second-largest greenhouse gas emitter after the United States, took a strong stance during the four-day meeting in Thailand. Along with India and other developing countries, it had pushed to raise the lowest target for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, delegates said.

A draft of the report proposed the world limit concentrations of greenhouse gases to between 445 parts per million and 650 parts per million, but China sought to strike the lower range over fears it would hinder its booming economy, Michael Muller, Germany's vice-minister for the environment, told reporters before the agreement was reached.

According to a partial version of the finalized document obtained by The Associated Press, China's efforts failed to remove the lower emission target from the report.

"This is still an excellent report," French delegate Michel Petit said, adding that China and the other developing countries ended up compromising on all major issues.

"Nothing important was removed during the process," he said.

The report is the third segment of an overall IPCC blueprint that will shape the way the world tackles global warming. The final version was not made available when the meeting broke around 4:30 a.m. Friday, but delegates said it largely resembled a draft version that said emissions can be cut below current levels if the world shifts away from carbon-heavy fuels like coal, embraces energy efficiency and significantly reduces deforestation.

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