By Roberto Coloma (AFP) – Nov 11, 2009
SINGAPORE — The United States called on Wednesday for a compromise at next month's global climate talks in Copenhagen and vowed to support a fund to help developing countries cope with emissions cuts.
"We cannot let the pursuit of perfection get in the way of progress," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a news conference in Singapore ahead of a weekend Pacific Rim summit to be attended by President Barack Obama.
Clinton said she had "fruitful discussions" on climate issues earlier Wednesday with counterparts from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which includes China, Russia and Japan.
The December 7-18 Copenhagen talks are aimed at achieving a global deal to slash greenhouse gas emissions and ease the impact of climate change before the 2012 expiry of the Kyoto Protocol, which excludes the United States.
Obama has brought the United States back into the climate discussions after his predecessor George W. Bush refused to sign the Kyoto pact.
"If we all exert maximum effort and embrace the right blend of pragmatism and principle, I believe we can secure a strong outcome at Copenhagen," Clinton told the news conference.
Beyond Copenhagen, "we are committed to reaching the goal of a global, legally binding climate agreement, and will continue working vigorously with the international community towards that end."
Earlier, in prepared remarks to a closed-door gathering of APEC foreign ministers, Clinton said the group's members account for 60 percent of global emissions and their efforts to cut them can have a "transformative impact".
She called for a trade-off between raising global living standards and strong action on climate change, and acknowledged the United States' "historical responsibility" for climate change, according to the official text.
Clinton reiterated US support for a fund aimed at helping developing countries reduce emissions, but gave no details.
"We are prepared to support a Global Climate Fund that will support adaptation and mitigation efforts and a matching entity to help developing countries match needs with available resources," she said.
European Union leaders agreed last month that developing nations will need 100 billion euros (150 billion dollars) by 2020 to tackle climate change but failed to nail down the group's share.
Finance ministers from the G20, which includes the United States and EU, were also unable to make headway on how to finance the climate fund when they met in Scotland last week.
There has been a long-running dispute between industrialised and developing countries over their role in the fight to slash global emissions.
Countries like China and India blame western nations for producing most of the emissions in their drive to industrialisation and feel that drastic emission caps would hamper their own development.
Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and 18 other APEC leaders are expected to call for sharp cuts in global emissions at the end of their summit on Sunday.
"We believe that global emissions will need to peak over the next few years and be reduced to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, recognising that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries," a draft declaration said.
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