No climate treaty deal in Copenhagen, Obama admits

Posted: 16 November 2009

According to a report in today's Guardian newspaper President Barack Obama has acknowledged that time had run out to secure a legally binding climate deal at the Copenhagen summit in December. Instead he has thown his support behind plans to delay a formal pact until next year at the earliest.

Speaking in Singapore en route to China, the US president supported a Danish plan to salvage something from next month's meeting by aiming to make it a first-stage series of commitments rather than an all-encompassing protocol.

This would mean postponing many contentious decisions on emissions targets, financing and technology transfer until the second-stage. Leaders would instead try to reach a political agreement in Copenhagen that sends a strong message of intent.

In a joint statement [issued later after talks in China] President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao declared that they aimed to make real progress in tackling climate change at next month's UN climate summit through "an accord that covers all the issues in the negotiations and one that has immediate operational effect".

Commenting on this Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said: "Today's agreement by the US and China recognising that major progress on tackling climate change can still be made in Copenhagen is a positive development following weeks of lowered expectations - both nations must now use their substantial political clout to make this happen.

"At the very least the world's richest nations must agree to substantially slash their emissions between 2012 and 2016 - as most of them are legally obliged to do under the Kyoto climate treaty - and agree a comprehensive finance and technology package to allow developing countries to develop cleanly and deal with the impacts of climate change.

"And the United States, which didn't sign up to Kyoto despite being the world's largest per capita polluter, must face up to its moral responsibilities by making similar cuts and providing hard cash.

"The alarm bells are ringing - rich country leaders must wake up to the threat of climate change and ensure that Copenhagen makes real progress in creating a low-carbon future for u all."

Friends of the Earth is asking everyone to sign its international petition to world leaders for a strong and fair climate deal at www.demandclimatechange.org.

See the full Guardian story here