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Time running out for climate talks

MARRAKESH, Morocco -- Talks aimed at bringing the 1997 Kyoto pact on global warming into force have entered their final day with no agreement in sight.

The Kyoto treaty commits richer countries to cut the greenhouse gas emissions thought to cause climate change.

Energy and environment ministers from around at the conference in Morocco are attempting to hammer out detailed rules that will govern the treaty, before the conference ends.

A European Union official told Reuters news agency that a compromise text produced by the chairman of the meeting was acceptable to the EU and many developing countries, but had been rejected by a more sceptical "umbrella group" of states, including Russia and Japan.

Morocco's Marrakesh is the site of the two-week conference on Earth's climate. Interactive information about the Saharan nation of Morocco in west Africa  is here from CountryWatch.

Big questions remain over how countries are to be made to comply with the pact's pollution-cutting targets, and on Russia's demand for an increase in the amount by which it is allowed to offset emissions by counting carbon stored in its trees and vegetation.

A total of 164 countries are attending the United Nations-sponsored talks in Marrakesh, intended to finalise detailed legal rules on the pact that will allow them to ratify the deal.

The treaty, which requires industrialised countries to cut emissions by an average of five percent by 2012, was rejected by the world's biggest emitter, the United States, in March, and has yet to become law elsewhere.

Following the U.S. withdrawal, all eyes have been on Russia and Japan which have yet to say unequivocally that they will go ahead.

The EU has said it will ratify by next year, but the treaty requires 55 countries accounting for 55 percent of 1990 carbon dioxide emissions to come into force so the umbrella group countries are crucial if the pact is to survive.




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