Effectively putting the kibosh on a global agreement this year on climate change, the Chinese and Indian heads of state announced recently they won't attend a Sept. 23 United Nations meeting on global warming.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently confirmed they won't join the gathering of world leaders at UN Headquarters in New York.

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Critics point out that the meeting was unlikely to forge consensus, but now it appears even less likely to have an impact. China is the world's leading emitter of carbon dioxide, followed by the United States. India is third.

"For the small island states of the world, the science says we might be forced to pay the biggest price of all -- the loss of our countries, said Tony deBrum, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, in the northern Pacific Ocean, in a statement. "We expect solidarity from our developing country compatriots, not excuses."

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India and China are pressing the United States, Japan and Europe to fund the $100 billion yearly fund proposed by the UN to assist poorer countries deal with the effects of climate change.

Negotiations will take place in Peru this December, followed by a Paris meeting next year, so it's possible an agreement could be reached by the end of 2015. The primary goal is to avoid global warming beyond 2 °C.