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EU chief urges 'rethink' on climate dealings with China, US

by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Feb 18, 2010
The head of the European Commission warned on Thursday that European leaders must "rethink" their approach to climate change negotiations with major partners such as China and the United Sates.

In a letter to the 27 European Union leaders, Jose Manuel Barroso said a UN summit in Copenhagen in December at which bloc negotiations were outmaneouvred "showed us just how tough it will be" to convince the world to adopt similar policies.

"Copenhagen was a reality check," Barroso said on the day Yvo de Boer, the head of the United Nations climate convention who organised the fiercely-contested Copenhagen summit, announced he is to resign.

The summit accord produced no binding pledges.

"We had hoped that leading by example, and our commitment to step up our efforts to 30 percent, would be enough to bring others on board," Barroso explained.

He was referring to Europe's readiness to pledge 30 percent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 if the rest of the developed world did likewise.

"This did not happen. But this is not the time for the EU to start doubting its commitments. This would be a mistake.

"We need to show that we have not given up on our ambitions, even if many of our partners found it easier to limit themselves to the lowest common denominator.

"Our core goal must be to bring all partners closer to our own ambitions and to our commitment to a multilateral agreement," he said.

"Hence if we are to progress, we have to rethink our approach to these partners," he underlined.

The United States this month pressed China, India and other emerging powers to make clearer commitments to fighting climate change, warning that last year's Copenhagen accord risked being "stillborn".

China, India, Brazil and South Africa each submitted to the United Nations their plans to fight climate change but described them as voluntary and did not formally endorse the Copenhagen deal.

Barroso added that leaders need to find "new ways to instil trust back into the process" of battling global warming, and urged the release of fast-start financing to cover the next three years for poorer countries, agreed among EU leaders in December.

De Boer had come under fire over the outcome of the December 7-19 climate negotiations, which ended in near-chaos as world leaders scrabbled to find a face-saving deal that would aim to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Copenhagen climate summit a 'failure': Medvedev
Moscow (AFP) Feb 18, 2010
The United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen was a failure but should serve as a lesson for the future, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday. "We need to admit that it was a failure... but at the same time it was a lesson. Such events require a different kind of preparation in the future," Medevedev said at a meeting with Russian officials. He affirmed however tha ... read more

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