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US expresses tentative support for international climate treaty

[JURIST] US Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern [appointment release] said Sunday that the country was committed to the creation of an international treaty designed to combat global warming [recorded video, RealPlayer], but that such efforts would only succeed if they were economically feasible. Stern made the comments during the opening of a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) [official website] meeting [materials] in Bonn, Germany. He said that the US would make substantial cuts in its greenhouse gas emissions, but that it was impractical for the country to meet earlier UNFCCC targets [press release] which called for industrial countries to reduce emissions to 60-75% of 1990 levels by 2020. In his own opening remarks [video, RM], UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer [official profile], called for both industrialized and developing countries to either cut or slow the increase of emissions, but said that developing countries would likely need financial support in making their cuts. The US on Saturday announced that it would be holding additional climate change talks [press release] with the 17 countries with the largest economies in April.

The purpose of the UNFCCC meeting is to advance the negotiation of a new international agreement to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol [text; JURIST news archive]. Participating countries hope to finalize the agreement in December, and the agenda [press release, PDF; JURIST report] for the meeting was set last May in Bangkok. General guidelines for the talks were established in the 2007 Bali Roadmap [PDF text; JURIST report] negotiated in Bali, Indonesia. The new deal is expected to enter into force by 2013, following the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

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