Sweden concerned over climate talks

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt expressed deep concern on Thursday over the progress of climate negotiations at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, with only weeks to go before the Copenhagen conference.

Reinfeldt, whose country is the current head of the EU, came to the US city of Pittsburgh for a 20-nation economic summit after top-level talks at the United Nations on climate change.

“We are both very worried about the situation,” Reinfeldt said at a joint news conference with European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

“When it comes to the negotiations, they are in fact slowing down; they are not going in the right direction,” Reinfeldt said. “We are very worried that we need to speed up the negotiations.”

Little more than two months remain until the conference in Copenhagen, which is meant to approve the framework of a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the landmark treaty that required cuts in emissions blamed for global warming.

The European Union and Japan have been the leading champions of the Kyoto Protocol, which made no requirements on developing nations to cut carbon emissions.

But rich nations including the United States are united in insisting that the next treaty also require action by emerging economies.

Chinese President Hu Jintao told Tuesday’s climate summit that the world’s biggest developing nation was prepared to slow down the growth of its carbon emissions as it develops, but he did not set a figure.

The G20 summit open on Thursday with disturbances in central Pittsburgh. Some 1,000 activists had gathered to protest against the talks and in the area around the University of Pittsburgh some shop windows were smashed as police battled to gain control.

The disturbances were described by the mayor of Pittsburgh, Luke Ravenstahl, as less than feared with organizers fearing that up to 30,000 illegal demonstrators would descend on the city.

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