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190 nations seek to bridge policy gaps on climate

Written by: Staff
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OSLO, May 12 (Reuters) About 190 nations meet in Germany next week to try to bridge vast policy gaps between the United States and its main allies over how to combat climate change amid growing evidence that the world is warming.

The May 15-16 ''dialogue'' will involve around 40 rich nations which are capping emissions of heat-trapping gases under the UN's Kyoto Protocol, as well as outsiders such as the United States and developing nations.

''Scientific evidence of the dramatic effects of human-induced climate change is becoming stronger,'' said Richard Kinley, acting head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat which will host the meeting in a Bonn hotel.

''Governments need to agree on how the world is to reduce emissions within two to three years,'' he said of a drive to extend the Kyoto pact beyond a first period running to 2012.

Bonn is likely only to be a round of skirmishing on measures to slow warming that could wreak havoc by stoking more droughts, heatwaves, floods, more powerful storms and raise global sea levels by almost a metre by 2100.

''I don't think anyone expects any breakthroughs in Bonn but it will be the start of what could prove to be some very useful discussions,'' said Elliot Diringer, a director at the ashington- based Pew Center on Climate Change.

STRAITJACKET President George W Bush denounces Kyoto as an economic straitjacket that unfairly excludes developing nations from a first round to 2012 even though almost all his industrial allies back the scheme.

Rather than binding caps on emissions, Bush favours big investments in technology such as hydrogen or solar power. Many developing nations say that rich states should take the lead in cuts before asking them to restrain emissions.

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