U.S. Officials Consider Interim Climate Change Plan Before U.N. Climate Change Summit

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) — U.S. officials are considering an interim climate change pact before next month’s summit in Denmark, tackling a more ambitious plan next year, officials said.

The two-pronged, scaled-back strategy is being driven by lack of action on climate legislation in Congress, hampering the Obama administration’s efforts to strike an international deal this year, The Washington Post reported Friday

Backing an interim agreement would be an attempt to keep the U.N.-sponsored talks in Copenhagen and before from being seen as a failure, administration and congressional officials told the Post. At the U.N.-backed climate change summit, world leaders will consider a successor to the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

“An interim, operational deal is not meant to be seen as a substitute for a real agreement,” Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy on climate change. “It’s meant to be seen as substantive building blocks to a full, legal agreement, and perhaps the best chance of getting such an agreement.”

At the core of the interim agreement are “political commitments” from key nations outlining targets to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and includes the amount of money wealthy countries would contribute to help developing nations address global warming and reduce emissions, the Post said. Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen outlined the interim deal last month.

Leaders of the European Union, U.S. environmental groups and developing nations pushed for a binding treaty specifying how much nations would cut their greenhouse gas emissions during the next decade and the method for distributing money to developing countries.

“To the extent we can build a framework and even some of the elements that lead us to a final treaty in six months or less, that’s essential,” said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists in the Washington.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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