Page last updated at 23:26 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Obama says disappointment over Copenhagen is valid

"At least we kind of held ground"

US president Barack Obama says people are justified in being disappointed by the outcome of the Copenhagen summit on climate change.

But he said in an interview with with US PBS television's Newshour that at least there had not been too much "backsliding" on previous positions.

He said this was preferable to a complete collapse of the talks.

The summit ended with no binding deal, but with nations "taking note" of a need to limit temperature rises to 2C.

"I think that people are justified in being disappointed about the outcome in Copenhagen," Mr Obama said.

"Rather than see a complete collapse in Copenhagen, in which nothing at all got done and would have been a huge backward step, at least we kind of held ground and there wasn't too much backsliding from where we were."


Mr Obama's comments follow China's rejections of claims made by a British minister that it "hijacked" efforts to reach an agreement at the climate summit in Copenhagen.

Beijing's foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Tuesday that the accusations were a political plot made by leaders who wanted to shirk their own obligations.

China and other big developing countries have long accused the world's richer economies of failing to offer big enough emissions cuts, and of not offering enough help to other nations struggling to cope with climate change.

On Monday, China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi praised the summit, saying it had been "not a destination, but a new beginning".

The final accord was reached between the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, but is not legally binding.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the agreement must be made legally binding next year.

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