International community again takes up climate change, greenhouse gases

Top U.S. and European Union officials pledged Monday to “ensure a positive, balanced outcome” at international climate change talks in Durban, South Africa.

The United Nations climate negotiations – which are aimed at tackling the range of global challenges associated with rising greenhouse gas emissions – began Monday. While the talks will not yield a binding agreement to lower emissions, negotiators are working to come to agreements on a series of incremental steps.

ADVERTISEMENT
In a joint statement issued Monday, the United States and European Union said they hoped to make progress on three key issues: mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, increasing transparency and financing efforts to address climate change.

“On climate change, we affirm our intent to work closely together to ensure a positive, balanced outcome in Durban, including mitigation, transparency and financing,” the joint statement said.

The officials called on all of the major world economies to agree to “robust and transparent greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments” as part of a broader effort to help “the international community move a step further towards a comprehensive, global framework.”

The officials, including President Obama and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, met Monday at a White House summit that focused on a range of issues, including the ailing global economy.

The Durban talks mark the latest international push to reach a global climate change treaty. A slew of countries signed on to a treaty, known as the Kyoto Protocol, in 1997. But the United States never ratified the protocol.

Negotiators at the current round of talks must attempt to sort out a range of long-standing disagreements between developing and developed countries over how to divide the responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Here is the full United States-European Union statement on climate change:

On climate change, we affirm our intent to work closely together to ensure a positive, balanced outcome in Durban, including mitigation, transparency and financing.  We stand fully behind the commitments we made last year in Cancun.  We affirm that Durban should deliver on operationalizing the Cancun agreements and helping the international community move a step further towards a comprehensive, global framework with the participation of all, including robust and transparent greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments by all major economies, recalling the 2°C objective agreed upon in Cancun.  With this in mind, we will cooperate closely in other relevant fora, notably the Major Economies Forum.  We also intend to work together to address other global sources of emissions, including from the aviation and maritime sectors, in the appropriate multilateral forums and consistent with applicable agreements.