UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said on Friday that he believed that nations would sign a "significant" deal on how to reduce the effects of global warming at a conference in Copenhagen in December.
"I am confident we can reach a significant agreement," De Boer told AFP on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions, known as the "Summer Davos in Asia", in the Chinese port city of Dalian.
The December 7-18 talks in Denmark, under the 192-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aim to craft a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
But major differences remain between developed and less developed nations over who should bear the brunt of the responsibility for making carbon emissions cuts.
US climate envoy Todd Stern yesterday described the ongoing UN-led negotiations as "difficult". The same day, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband warned there was a "real danger" of failure in Copenhagen.
But De Boer, the executive secretary of the UNFCCC, sounded a brighter note.
He hailed the European Union, which has proposed tens of billions of euros in global aid for poor nations to fight global warming, as well as what he called Tokyo's "dramatic change of position" on the issue.