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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 December 2007, 19:35 GMT
US sets terms for climate talks

US delegation head Paula Dobriansky confers with colleague James Connaughton in Bali
Washington agreed to the roadmap only after being booed
The US has said the climate change negotiating process it agreed to in Bali must ensure developing states take their fair share of emission cuts.

The deal did not meet this principle fully, the White House said - climate change could not be curbed by emission cuts from developed countries alone.

Environmentalists have criticised the lack of firm reduction targets in the plan which the US initially rejected.

It launches talks to reach emissions cuts to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

There is nothing in the White House statement that contradicts the Bali roadmap, the BBC News website's Richard Black notes.

It is more a question of the White House spelling out what its concerns are, and what it will be looking for as the negotiations from Bali proceed, our environment correspondent says.

'Critical step'

The White House regards the Bali agreement as a "critical first step" towards creating an effective new set of climate goals, its press secretary said.

The text of the roadmap refers to "common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities" and calls for "nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing country Parties".

I've never seen such a flip-flop in an environmental treaty context ever
Bill Hare

However, the US said it felt the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities had "not yet fully been given effect".

"The problem of climate change cannot be adequately addressed through commitments for emissions cuts by developed countries alone," the statement said.

"Major developing economies must likewise act."

Developing states, the US also argued, had to be differentiated according to the size of their economies and energy use.

Any new climate goals had to "take into account the legitimate right of the major developing economies and indeed all countries to grow their economies, develop on a sustainable basis, and have access to secure energy sources".


Agreement was reached in Bali after marathon talks which spilled over by a day and were at times emotional.

It came only after an EU demand for industrialised nations to make emission cuts of 25-40% by 2020 was dropped from the draft text, and the EU and China agreed to soften language on commitments from developing countries.

A bloc containing the US, Canada and Japan had opposed the specific targets suggested by the EU.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses high level delegates to the UN Climate Change Conference

The final text states that "deep cuts in global emissions will be required to achieve the ultimate objective" of avoiding dangerous climate change.

Despite the consensus achieved, environmental groups and some delegates criticised the documents as being weak and a missed opportunity.

Washington's delegation accepted it only after it was booed by other delegates for rejecting it.

"The US has been humbled by the overwhelming message by developing countries that they are ready to be engaged with the problem, and it's been humiliated by the world community," said Bill Hare of Greenpeace.

"I've never seen such a flip-flop in an environmental treaty context ever."

Background to the climate change deal

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