Review of rich-poor divide underpins climate talks

December 8, 2011 - 6:51 AM
South Africa Climate Conference

U.S. lead negotiator Todd Stern speaks during the climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011. The conference is focusing on efforts to move toward a future agreement to legally bind all nations to emissions targets, including China and the United States. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — The head of the group of developing countries says the outcome of U.N. climate negotiations boils down to whether the two-tiered system of rich and poor countries should continue, or whether all nations should be treated more equally.

The two-week climate conference is in the final push before Friday's scheduled closing.

Industrial countries want to revise the 20-year-old division that has created two levels of responsibility: Rich countries are legally bound to reduce carbon emissions while developing countries take voluntary actions.

Argentine ambassador Sylvia Merega, speaking for 132 countries, said Thursday the effort to revise the regime is the underlying issue of the conference, and "I don't know how it will be resolved."