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EU Says China’s Offer on Verifying Emissions a ‘Good Signal’

The European Commission said global warming talks are making progress on a system to verify cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, one of the most controversial issues under negotiation, after China softened its position.

China during the past week has said it would make its reductions “transparent” and submit them for international analysis, a demand U.S. envoys placed on developing countries.

“In terms of the latest statements from China, definitely there’s a move toward the middle ground,” Artur Runge-Metzger, the envoy from the European Union’s executive arm at United Nations talks in Mexico said in an interview today. “That’s a good signal at this point in time.”

The comments indicate progress in agreeing a new package of measures to limit fossil-fuel emissions blamed for warming the atmosphere. The talks among delegates from 193 nations in Cancun have been marred by a rift between rich and poor nations over the scale of reductions from industrial countries.

The UN today published draft decisions to look at how emissions reductions by rich and poor nations will be monitored, reported and verified, or MRV in UN jargon. The text was filled with brackets -- an indication that the wording has yet to be agreed by envoys.

Under the text, developed countries were urged to adopt more ambitious, legally-binding targets. Actions by developing nations that aren’t financed by aid would have to be verified domestically, and their reports would be analyzed by international monitors. The text still leaves open the prospect that the national MRV is voluntary.

“There’s been quite some progress on MRV,” Runge-Metzger said. “In the first text there was nothing on MRV, and the last text that was published covers all of the important points on MRV. It’s kind of a skeleton now, and what we need to do now is to put flesh onto the bones.”

Developing country actions that are funded by international aid would be subject to the MRV program, as would the assistance that pays for them, according to the document. The UN would establish a registry to match donor funding with actions carried out by the developing nations, the paper said.

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