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16 Nov 2009: With Copenhagen Pact Stalled,
Leaders Look for Climate Treaty in 2010

With the announcement by President Obama and other world leaders this weekend that no binding climate agreement will be reached in Copenhagen next month, numerous officials expressed hopes that a treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions could be signed by mid- to late-2010. Meeting in Singapore, Obama and other leaders agreed that lack of accord on setting precise emissions reductions targets would prevent the signing of a binding climate treaty in Copenhagen. But in a process that Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen labeled as “one agreement, two steps,” climate negotiators are hopeful that the 192 nations meeting in Copenhagen will sign a non-binding political agreement calling for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and for aid to developing nations to help them adapt to a warming world. Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, said he hoped a final agreement could then be reached by mid-2010 at a meeting in Bonn. The host of the Copenhagen meeting, Danish Climate and Energy Minister Connie Hedegaard, said officials should set a clear deadline for signing a climate treaty, possibly in time for a December 2010 meeting scheduled for Mexico City. Some environmentalists criticized Obama for the treaty delay, but others said he could not commit to firm greenhouse gas reductions until Congress acts on a pending climate change bill.

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