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Legally Binding Climate Deal Not Likely Anytime Soon, U.S. Says
2010-12-14 21:47:15.974 GMT
By Kim Chipman and Jim Efstathiou Jr.
Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- A legally binding accord to combat
climate change isn't likely soon, though nations can take steps
to curb global greenhouse-gas emissions, U.S. negotiator Todd
Stern said today.
"The day will come in the future when countries can come
together in a legal format," Stern, who led the U.S. delegation
in United Nations climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, said in
Washington. "You can get an awful lot done on the way" to an
agreement "and that's what we are trying to do."
Envoys from more than 190 nations agreed in Cancun on Dec.
11 to send as much as $100 billion a year to vulnerable nations
by 2020, protect forests and outline methods to verify cuts in
fossil fuel emissions. Disagreements between developed nations
and emerging economies have kept the negotiators from crafting a
new binding agreement.
"While there may be some kind of legal treaty down the
road, that's not happening, I think, anytime soon," Stern said.
The U.S. and the industrialized nations aren't prepared to
enter into a legally binding commitment to cut greenhouse gases
unless major polluters such as India, China and Brazil are
willing to do so as well, Stern said.
"At the moment they aren't" he said.
The agreement reached after two weeks of UN-led
negotiations didn't resolve debate over the future of the Kyoto
Protocol, which limits emissions by developed countries until
2012. The decision on whether to start a second period to let
governments sign on was put off until a UN climate meeting in
Durban, South Africa, in December 2011.
Bigger Cuts Sought
China, India, Brazil and South Africa pressed developed
nations to make bigger cuts under Kyoto while Japan, Russia and
Canada said they don't want to extend the accord unless the two
biggest emitters, China and the U.S., accept the agreement.
Delegates ignored the rift by keeping alive the prospect of
extending Kyoto without setting new targets for polluters.
The U.S. never ratified Kyoto because the treaty doesn't
require cuts by big emitters such as China and India.
"You can understand the hesitance" on the part of some
developed countries since Kyoto covers less than 30 percent of
all global greenhouse-gas emissions, Stern said.
Stern said an agreement aimed at laying the groundwork for
a new climate deal, including all major emitters, is a positive
"This package obviously isn't going to solve climate
change by itself," he said. "It's a very good step and a step
very much consistent with U.S. interests, and will help move the
world down the path toward broader global response to stopping
For Related News and Information:
Top news on environment: TOP ENV <GO>
Emission trading stories: TNI ENVMARKET CLIMATE <GO>
Top environment and renewable energy stories: GREEN <GO>
Stories about the climate talks: NSE CLIMATE CANCUN <GO>
--Editors: Steve Geimann, John Lear
To contact the reporters on this story:
Kim Chipman in Washington at +1-202-624-1927 or
Jim Efstathiou Jr. in New York at +1-212-617-1647 or
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Larry Liebert at +1-202-624-1936 or email@example.com