Thursday, December 17, 2009
Officials race the clock to get deal at Copenhagen climate talks
U.S. officials are working furiously behind the scenes at the Copenhagen climate talks to arrange a multination emissions-reduction deal that includes China, the Reuters international news service reported Thursday. Their urgency comes from the impending arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama, due to arrive tomorrow, and their desire to have an international deal done or close to completion by that time. "We're making progress on all of our outstanding issues with the Chinese," one official told Reuters. "We have a good dialogue going and there are other parties as well. "There's still a way to go on all the issues and there's not much time left, so we certainly can't predict at this point what the outcome of the conference will be." Obama is scheduled to address the conference and could be bringing a new proposal for developed nations to help pay for poorer nations to deal with the effects of rising sea levels due to global climate change. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the conference today that the United States would help raise $100 billion a year by 2020 for such a fund. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the United States thinks an emissions-reduction deal is still possible at Copenhagen, despite differences between developed and developing nations on the size of the restrictions and on verification that have limited progress so far. "We want something that works for both the international community but also that works for the United States," White House press spokesman Robert Gibbs told Reuters. "We think the elements are there to reach that agreement." Obama is expected to be at Copenhagen for less than a full day, Reuters said, because he wants to return to Washington to continue working on healthcare reform legislation pending in Congress.