Legally binding treaty less likely since U.S. lags with its own legislation

November 5, 2009 at 12:13 PM Leave a comment

Negotiators and diplomats were working Thursday on a scaled-back version of a global climate change treaty that could be agreed by next month’s deadline, without firm U.S. commitments.

The idea of forging a political agreement, instead of a legally binding treaty, was becoming a more accepted possibility as negotiators acknowledged some nations, including the United States, would not be ready in time for the December U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“People are more and more talking about a framework, a framework that you clarify further in the following months,” said Artur Runge-Metzger, chief delegate from the EU Commission.

European officials said they envisioned a political accord emerging from Copenhagen enshrining plans by developed countries to cut carbon emissions and by emerging economies to trim back the growth of their emissions. It also would include specific numbers on how much money wealthy countries would channel to the poor to combat the effects of climate change.

Such a political deal would not be legally binding, but would carry the authority of world leaders who would come to the Danish capital to sign off on it. Negotiations would continue for several months and possibly one year until a legally binding treaty was ready, the officials said on condition of anonymity, due to the sensitivity of the ongoing talks.

“We as the EU will certainly push and push and push to get a real legal outcome,” Runge-Metzger said, adding that the Copenhagen agreement should “definitely … have a timetable” for negotiating a full treaty.

Even an interim deal would clear the way to mobilize funds to help poor countries. The EU has said $7.4 billion to $10.4 billion will be needed over the next three years for developing nations to begin planning their first steps toward controlling their emissions and protecting themselves against the effects of climate change.

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Entry filed under: National News. Tags: , , .

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