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Climate talks stall as clashes erupt outside

Danish riot police grapple with protesters during a demonstration Wednesday outside the climate change conference in Copenhagen. Police said 260 were detained.

Associated Press

Danish riot police grapple with protesters during a demonstration Wednesday outside the climate change conference in Copenhagen. Police said 260 were detained.

COPENHAGEN — The 10-day-old climate talks ran into disputes and paralysis as they entered a critical stage Wednesday, just two days before President Barack Obama and more than 100 other national leaders hope to sign a historic agreement to fight global warming.

Poorer nations stalled the talks in resistance to what they saw as efforts by the rich to impose decisions falling short of strong commitments to reduce greenhouse gases and to help those countries hurt by climate change. Conference observers said, however, that negotiators still had time to reach agreements.

Outside the meeting site in Copenhagen's suburbs, police fired pepper spray and beat protesters with batons as hundreds of demonstrators sought to disrupt the 193-nation conference, the latest action in days of demonstrations to demand "climate justice" — firm steps to combat global warming. Police said 260 protesters were detained.

Earlier, behind closed doors, negotiators dealing with core issues debated until just before dawn without setting new goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or for financing poorer countries' efforts to cope with coming climate change, key elements of any deal.

"I regret to report we have been unable to reach agreement," John Ashe of Antigua, chairman of one negotiating group, told the conference.

New focus on farm emissions

The United States will join 20 other countries in a research alliance to better understand — and prevent — greenhouse gas emissions from farms, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced. He said the U.S. Agriculture Department will increase its spending on farm-emissions research by $90 million, for a total of $130 million over the next four years.

Forests get $3.5 billion

Negotiators moved closer to a deal to protect the world's forests with a pledge from the United States and five other countries to spend $3.5 billion over the next three years to slow their destruction.

Climate talks stall as clashes erupt outside 12/16/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 11:17pm]
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