* New draft documents being drawn up
* Vulnerable nations, EU complained about lack of ambition
* Talks expected to last all night
By Nina Chestney and Jon Herskovitz
DURBAN, Dec 10 Developing states most at
risk from global warming rebelled against a proposed deal at
U.N. climate talks on Friday, forcing host South Africa to draw
up new draft documents in a bid to prevent the talks collapsing.
South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
suspended the talks in Durban after a coalition of island
nations, developing states and the European Union complained the
current draft lacked ambition, sources said.
Delegates held overnight talks on a fresh draft and are
expected to meet for a plenary session starting from 0800 GMT
Saturday with many hopeful a deal could be reached that would
bring on board the world's biggest emitters of the gases blamed
for global warming.
"There was a strong appeal from developing countries, saying
the commitments in the proposed texts were not enough, both
under the Kyoto Protocol and for other countries," said Norway's
Climate Change Minister Erik Solheim.
The European Union has been rallying support to its plan to
set a 2015 target date for a new climate deal that would impose
binding cuts on the world's biggest emitters of heat-trapping
gases, a pact that would come into force up to five years later.
The crux of the dispute is how binding the legal wording in
the final document will be. The initial draft spoke of a "legal
framework", which critics said committed parties to nothing.
The new draft changed the language to "legal instrument",
which implies a more binding commitment, and says a working
group should draw up a cuts regime by 2015. It also turns up
pressure on countries to act more quickly to come up with
emission cut plans.
The changes should appeal to poor states, small island
nations and the European Union but may be tough for major
emitters, including the United States and India, to swallow,
said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union
of Concerned Scientists.
"One of the crunch issues that has been left out is the date
by which the new agreement will enter into force, which could
still be as late as 2020 and making it no better than the
previous text on this issue," said Tim Gore, climate change
policy advisor for Oxfam.
The delegates are also expected to approve text on a raft of
other measures including one to protect forests and another to
bring to life the Green Climate Fund, designed to help poor
nations tackle global warming and nudge them towards a new
global effort to fight climate change.
The EU strategy has been to forge a coalition of the willing
designed to heap pressure on the world's top three carbon
emitters -- China, the United States and India -- to sign up to
binding cuts. None are bound by the Kyoto Protocol.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said earlier that a
"small number of states" had yet to sign up to the EU plan and
that time was running out for a deal in Durban.
Washington says it will only pledge binding cuts if all
major polluters make comparable commitments. China and India say
it would be unfair to demand they make the same level of cuts as
the developed world, which caused most of the pollution
responsible for global warming.
Many envoys believe two weeks of climate talks in Durban
will at best produce a weak political agreement, with states
promising to start talks on a new regime of binding cuts in
"A crash is still a possibility. It is going to go on all
night. That much is clear," said Gore of Oxfam.
U.N. reports released in the last month show time is running
out to achieve change. They show a warming planet will amplify
droughts and floods, increase crop failures and raise sea levels
to the point where several island states are threatened with
The dragging talks frustrated delegates from small islands
and African states, who joined a protest by green groups outside
as they tried to enter the main negotiating room.
"You need to save us, the islands can't sink. We have a
right to live, you can't decide our destiny. We will have to be
saved," Maldives' climate negotiator Mohamed Aslam said.
(Additional reporting by Andrew Allan, Agnieszka Flak and Stian
Reklev; editing by Jon Boyle and Myra MacDonald)