ACCRA (AFP) - Time is running out in the fight against global warming, the UN's top climate change official warned as a new round of UN talks got underway here Thursday. "There is little time left to get a solid negotiating text on the table. Clearly the clock is ticking," said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. "People in a burning house cannot afford to lose time in an argument," he said, citing an Ashanti proverb. The Accra gathering must strive to "reach agreement on the rules and tools" that developed countries will use to cut greenhouse gas emissions, he told more than 1600 delegates from 160 nations. The president of Ghana, John Kufuor, echoed this sense of urgency is opening remarks, noting that his country was already suffering from the consequences of global warming. Rainfall in Ghana has decreased by 20pc in three decades, and 1,000 square kilometres of fertile agricultural land in the upper Volta Delta will be lost to rising sea levels and flooding if temperatures continue to rise at their current pace, he said. "The real political commitment is short- and medium-term," Connie Hedegaard, the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, told the delegates in Accra. "We have to speed up the pace. The negotiations here in Accra must deliver concrete results" about what technologies will be used to cut emissions, she said. De Boer challenged the delegates to be "ambitious," and said if they failed Africa would continue to be the "forgotten continent". He insisted that rich countries step up financial assistance to help Africa adapt to global warming. African produces the fewest emissions, he pointed out, but will likely well pay the heaviest price.