The world's top 20 polluting nations ended climate talks in Monterrey, Mexico, this week in unusual accord over the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
G8 member nations had met with developing countries — among them Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa — to hammer out a new framework for tackling climate change after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
But while the mood of the meeting was positive, delegates pointed out that a huge gap remains between the science of climate change and the political realities.
The World Bank has yet to receive an investment of US$20 billion from the United Kingdom towards the bank's framework for helping developing countries expand their energy supplies via clean technology, delegates heard.
Representatives from the United States, meanwhile, objected to parts of the proposal. Under-secretary of state for global affairs Paula Dobriansky said the United States was now acting to tackle greenhouse gases, yet admitted that its emissions would continue to rise.
Another US delegate said informally that US opposition to mandatory cuts in emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide had not changed.
UK environment secretary David Miliband said that the pace of change was so slow that carbon dioxide emissions would be 137 per cent higher by 2050, adding that the business-as-usual approach to emissions cutting was not an option.