World leaders deal major blow to Cophenhagen climate change deal

  • Date: 15/11/09

Crunch climate change talks may be doomed to failure in Copenhagen next month, with a legally binding deal on emissions now decreasingly likely, admitted leaders from across the Asia Pacific region.

In another setback the group of presidents and prime ministers representing nearly two-thirds of world economic output and meeting in Singapore this weekend significantly watered-down their public commitment on greenhouse gasses. That, said officials, reflected a view that the quest for a “perfect agreement” should be abandoned.

A meeting of 19 leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum, which included President Barack Obama, Chinese president Hu Jintao, and the Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, agreed on Sunday that the forthcoming United Nations summit in Copenhagen should aim to make progress on cutting emissions. But attendees also said that the political divisions were visibly profound.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, said after the meeting on Sunday that it had become apparent that it was “highly unlikely” the Copenhagen talks would reach a legally binding agreement on emissions next month.

“I don’t think the negotiations have proceeded in such a way that many of the leaders thought it was likely that we were going to achieve a final agreement in Copenhagen,” said Michael Froman, a senior climate change negotiator for the United States.

Japanese officials said that Sunday’s meeting had seen broad agreement that the Copenhagen talks would fail if negotiations insisted too heavily on a “perfect agreement.”

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