U.S. Wants Legally Binding Climate Agreement at 2010 Summit

The U.S. has announced that it will be pursuing a legally binding agreement on climate change at the upcoming Cancun summit in December.

The announcement was made on Monday in a letter from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) just days after U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer announced that he would step down from his position in July.

 Some observers have seen de Boer's resignation as a sign of decreasing U.N. role in global climate talks, with control being taken over by major emitting countries.

According to the State Department, the agreement in Cancun should cover "all major economies," and include elements of the Copenhagen Accord Bloomberg reported.

The Copenhagen Accord, which was drafted in December by the U.S., China, India, Brazil and South Africa, maintains that keeping temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius is important, but makes no commitments to reduce emissions to keep the temperature rise in check.

In a briefing last week, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern said he expects elements of the Copenhagen Accord to made "operational" this year and noted that one hundred countries have expressed interest in being part of the Accord.

The U.N., meanwhile, has said that the Copenhagen Accord shouldn't be used as a base for a legal treaty, since it wasn't accepted by consensus at the December summit.

The U.S.'s current pledges, which were made prior to the Copenhagen summit, are to make emissions reductions "in the range of" 17 percent by 2020, using 2005 levels as a base.

China's pledges for 2020 are to cut emissions by around 40 percent, while India has promised an "intensity" cut of 20 to 25 percent.

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