"I would say: hold tight and mind the doors, the cable-car is moving again": the UN’s chief climate negotiator, Yvo de Boer, said. "We now have clarity...on the documents...on transparency. I find that encouraging."

United Nations talks on fighting climate change finally turned to the details of how to combat global warming on Thursday after 36 hours of wrangling over procedural issues.

Officials expressed relief that the procedural row had ended at last, but warned that the dispute had wasted precious time just a day away from the end of the conference.

“I would say: hold tight and mind the doors, the cable-car is moving again,” the UN’s chief climate negotiator, Yvo de Boer, told journalists in Copenhagen.

“We now have clarity on the process, we have clarity on the documents, we have clarity on the transparency ... so I find that encouraging,” he said.

Two contact groups set up

At the meeting, its chair, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, set up two “contact groups” to hammer out a compromise on the key questions which still divide poor and rich countries.

At the same time, he gave up on attempts to draft a summit agreement on the main issues by combining elements from two texts painstakingly drawn up by international negotiators over the past two years.

“The documentary basis for the work will be the texts reported and presented to the plenary last night. No other texts will be used,” he stressed.

G77’s objections removed

That concession removed the objections of the Group of 77 (G77) poor countries and China, who had blocked talks for much of the last two days in protest at what they portrayed as an attempt to force a deal on them.

But it left negotiators just hours to come to a deal on the key issues of substance before heads of state and government arrive in the Danish capital for the final phase of talks.

“This is going to be a matter of hours,” Mr. de Boer said.

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