Friday, December 14, 2007
The United States earned some praise earlier today for ostensibly backing down from its opposition to a joint declaration at the UN climate conference in Bali. But the U.S. decision came after European Union nations agreed to remove specific greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals in all-night negotiations. The EU had demanded cuts of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, while the White House opposed setting specific levels. Future talks could revive the issue. "The United States is very committed to this effort and just wants to really ensure we all act together," said Paula Dobriansky, head of the U.S. delegation, to loud applause, according to the Reuters international news agency. "We will go forward and join consensus." The agreement clears the way for negotiations on a new climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which had specific targets and expires in 2012, but which the Bush administration had rejected. The deal also apparently means the EU will participate in the planned Sept. 27-28 meeting on climate change planned by the White House, which the Europeans had threatened to boycott.