The United Nations aims to launch a two-year drive at talks in Bali to bind rich and poor nations to a global fight against climate change. But the problem will be finding a common formula.
The negotiating platforms for the main groups at the climate talks, that began yesterday and run until December 14, are:
The UN's latest Human Development Report included some of the strongest calls yet for collective action to avert climate change, which would disproportionately affect the poor.
China, the world's No 2 carbon emitter, says rich countries are responsible for most of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and they should take the lead in cuts. Many other developing nations, including India and Brazil, share a similar stance.
United States President George W. Bush opposes the Kyoto Protocol, saying it unfairly omits 2012 emissions goals for developing nations and would damage the US economy.
The new leader of Australia, the world's top coal exporter, says his government will now ratify Kyoto as fast as possible. Kevin Rudd will go to Bali to take part in negotiations.
The EU has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.
The Maldives and other island states want the UN to assess if a link exists between failure to tackle climate change and human rights.