Bolivia assails rich, carbon market at Cancun talks

CANCUN, Mexico Nov 30 (Reuters) - Bolivia, among the strongest opponents of the Copenhagen climate accord last year, assailed rich nations at Cancun climate talks on Tuesday but stopped short of threatening to disrupt the two-week conference.

Pablo Solon, the Andean country's ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters he was "deeply concerned" by the early course of the Nov. 29 to Dec. 10 talks at the Mexican resort of Cancun and criticized plans for carbon markets.

"Here we are negotiating a law without first obeying it," he said, accusing rich countries of failing to live up to their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Bolivia has long had the toughest demands of any developing nation for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, saying tough action is needed to protect "Mother Earth." It wants to limit a rise in world temperatures to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius), half the level in the non-binding 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

Bolivia and a handful of other developing nations led opposition to the Copenhagen Accord last year.

Expectations for the Cancun talks have been dampened because there is little sign of compromise between delegates representing nearly 200 countries over many of the issues that led to deadlock and acrimony last year in Copenhagen.

Environmental activists echoed Solon in their criticism of the wealthier nations at the talks and urged governments to start making positive contributions.

Solon deflected questions about whether Bolivia would lead an opposition to a binding agreement at Cancun, saying the rich countries were those blocking progress on talks.

Host Mexico has focused its efforts on jump-starting the talks with an eye to restoring faith in the multilateral system for tackling climate change and making incremental progress on some easier issues.

However Solon condemned proposals known as REDD+ that would set up a market-based system to pay poorer nations to protect tropical forests.

"Now they want to put a value on nature ... this is what got us here in the first place," Solon said.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has fingered capitalism as the root of many of the problems facing the world and has urged his fellow leaders to explore alternatives, such as a declaration of rights for the earth as a means of tackling climate change.

Morales is expected to come to Cancun toward the end of the meeting along with a handful of other world leaders. (Reporting by Robert Campbell; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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