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U.S.: Global Climate Talks in Copenhagen Likely to be ‘Inadequate’

smokestackiness2The top U.S. climate envoy is doubtful that any meaningful global agreement on climate change can be forged at December’s climate talks in Copenhagen.

Jonathan Pershing, the US deputy special envoy for climate change, said that the talks won’t fail, but they “will likely be inadequate,” reports Platts.com.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is more optimistic, however, Reuters reports. Lula de Silva was heartened by the increasing participation of the U.S., saying “The United States is assuming the responsibility to discuss this issue, something they haven’t done since the Kyoto Protocol was signed.”

Pershing’s comments came in front of the Committee on America’s Climate Choices, which Congress last year directed the National Academy of Science to convene. The committee is scheduled to release four reports this year and a final report sometime in 2010.

Instead of December’s meeting in Copenhagen, Pershing expects real components of climate change to come from 2010 meetings, likely to be held in Mexico. Recommendations from Copenhagen, however, should provide what Pershing called “real space for doing an agreement.”

Whatever results from global climate talks, Pershing said he expects it be different from the Kyoto Protocol’s reliance on a central authority to assign greenhouse caps. Instead, he said that the next global plan likely would begin with development of various domestic plans, which ultimately would be amassed into a single global deal.

The U.S. can’t look to blame the world for lack of progress on climate talks, Pershing said. Indeed, the lack of comprehensive climate legislation in the U.S. has other nation’s holding their cards. It’s generally agreed that the U.S., as the biggest emitter, must take the lead. Then, the U.S. must reach an agreement with China, which is not far behind the U.S. in emissions.

In other climate news on China, the European Union has said that its plans to reform a U.N.-run global carbon offsetting regime would help China, not hinder it, Reuters reports.

China, which so far has supplied 60 percent of carbon offsets through the U.N. clean development mechanism, fears that EU proposals to curb low-quality carbon offsets would reduce China’s prospects for continued sales of offsets.

But the system the EU is proposing would boost the volume of carbon credits, which in the long run would still benefit China, said Jurgen Lefevere, European Commission policy coordinator for climate change negotiations.

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