Rich countries are pushing developing nations with the strongest economies to do far more to combat climate change, opening a faultline between rich and poor in UN talks on global warming.

The European Union, for instance, says that some developing nations such as Singapore, Argentina and some OPEC states have grown richer than some developed nations which have to shoulder the burden of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The world has made progress on ways to save tropical forests as part of a planned new UN pact to slow global warming, the UN's top climate official said at 160-nation talks in Ghana ending on Wednesday.

"We are still on track, the process has speeded up," Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, said of the Aug. 21-27 negotiations. "There is a growing sense of urgency."

UN climate talks in Ghana are making progress on ways to help developing nations slow deforestation and have eased disputes over use of greenhouse gas targets for industrial sectors, delegates said on Monday.

"It's moving pretty well now," Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, told reporters of the Aug. 21-27 talks which are defining the building blocks of a new UN global warming pact meant to be agreed by the end of 2009.

Abolishing subsidies on fossil fuels could cut world greenhouse gas emissions by up to 6 percent and also nudge up world economic growth, a UN report showed on Tuesday.

Subsidies on oil, gas or coal are meant to help the poor by lowering the price of energy but the report, issued on the sidelines of a 160-nation UN climate meeting in Ghana, said they often backfired by mainly benefiting wealthier people.
The study estimated that energy subsidies, almost all for fossil fuels, totalled about US$300 billion a year or 0.7 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP).

Rising elephant numbers in a protected forest park in Ghana are angering farmers whose crops are being raided in an unwanted side-effect of a plan to slow deforestation.

Locals in Afiaso, a village of 620 people in southern Ghana with no electricity nor running water, grumble that they are seeing limited benefits from agreeing to cooperate in protecting Kakum National Park forest, which starts 2 km (1 mile) away.

Nitin Sethi | TNN

With the next round of international climate change negotiations set to start from Thursday in Accra, Ghana, enough signals have emerged that the talks may not make any substantial headway.

But it could see sparks fly with India out to stub any attempts by Japan, EU and US to firm up an agenda against it and China. Speaking to TOI, Yvoe De Boer, the man in the hot seat as the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said, "It would be difficult to discuss national targets (for GHG gas reductions) before the next US administration is in place.'

Tomato, cabbage, and garden egg are important crops for small-scale farmers and migrants in the rural and peri-urban areas of Ghana. Genetic modification has the potential to alleviate poverty through combating yield losses from pests and diseases in these crops, while reducing health risks from application of hazardous chemicals. This study uses farm survey data to gauge the potential for adoption of genetically modified varieties, estimate the potential impact of adoption on farm profits, and highlight economic differences among the three crops.

West Africa is one of the least green regions in the world, but the nation of Ghana has distinguished itself among its neighbors, achieving a rank of 86 on Yale and Columbia's Environmental Performance Index. In sub-Saharan Africa, only Gabon and the island nation of Mauritius rank higher, and Ghana is bigger and poorer than each of them.

This report details how Citizens' action initiatives have empowered poor communities in developing countries to assert their demand for equitable, sustainable water and sanitation services, and work with service provides on developing action plans to achieve this. Using the Citizens' action approach poor people have been given a voice and have succeeded in making public authorities address issues of inadequate water and sanitation provision.