China, world's top polluter, sees 'positives' in climate conference's outcome

Workers repair a steam locomotive at a specialized factory in Shenyang in northeast China’s Liaoning province on Sunday. The agreement forged at the climate conference in Copenhagen urges a reduction in emissions but doesn’t require it.

Associated Press

Workers repair a steam locomotive at a specialized factory in Shenyang in northeast China’s Liaoning province on Sunday. The agreement forged at the climate conference in Copenhagen urges a reduction in emissions but doesn’t require it.

BEIJING — China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, lauded Sunday the outcome of a historic U.N. climate conference that ended with a nonbinding agreement urging — but not requiring — major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the international climate talks that brought more than 110 leaders together in Copenhagen produced "significant and positive" results.

The Obama administration on Sunday also defended the agreement as a "great step forward" — despite widespread disappointment among environmentalists that the pact does not include mandatory targets that would draw sanctions.

"Nobody says that this is the end of the road. The end of the road would have been the complete collapse of those talks. This is a great step forward," White House adviser David Axelrod told CNN's State of the Union.

Disputes between rich and poor countries and between the world's biggest carbon polluters — China and the United States — dominated the two-week conference. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand action to cool an overheating planet.

The meeting ended Saturday after a 31-hour negotiating marathon, with delegates accepting a U.S.-brokered compromise. The so-called Copenhagen Accord calls for reducing emissions to keep temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. It gives billions of dollars in climate aid to poor nations but does not require the world's major polluters to make deeper cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions.

"It's disappointing, that we didn't get binding reduction targets," said Danish ex-climate minister Connie Hedegaard, who led the negotiations in Copenhagen. "We've worked very hard to achieve that."

But Hedegaard said the conference was successful in the sense that developing countries are "acknowledging their responsibility for getting the world on track in the fight against climate change."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would work with member states to convert the commitments into a global, legally binding treaty as soon as possible in 2010.

Fidel Castro says an agreement forged at the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen is "undemocratic" and calls President Barack Obama's speech there "misleading." The ailing former Cuban president blasts a U.S.-brokered deal that urges major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts — but does not require it. Castro claimed in one of his regular "Reflections" published Sunday that only industrialized nations could speak at the summit, while emerging and poor nations only had the right to listen. Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday that he would organize an alternate climate conference. He urged the world to mobilize against the failure of the Copenhagen summit.

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Castro blasts pact

Fidel Castro says an agreement forged at the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen is "undemocratic" and calls President Barack Obama's speech there "misleading." The ailing former Cuban president blasts a U.S.-brokered deal that urges major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts — but does not require it. Castro claimed in one of his regular "Reflections" published Sunday that only industrialized nations could speak at the summit, while emerging and poor nations only had the right to listen. Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday that he would organize an alternate climate conference. He urged the world to mobilize against the failure of the Copenhagen summit.

. fast facts

Hed goes here

Fidel Castro says an agreement forged at the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen is "undemocratic" and calls President Barack Obama's speech there "misleading." The ailing former Cuban president blasts a U.S.-brokered deal that urges major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts — but does not require it. Castro claimed in one of his regular "Reflections" published Sunday that only industrialized nations could speak at the summit, while emerging and poor nations only had the right to listen. Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday that he would organize an alternate climate conference. He urged the world to mobilize against the failure of the Copenhagen summit .

China, world's top polluter, sees 'positives' in climate conference's outcome 12/20/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 20, 2009 10:05pm]

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