Official: U.S. emissions target will be part of climate talks
By Juliet Eilperin
The U.S. will identify a near-term emission reduction target as part of an effort to reach a comprehensive climate agreement in Copenhagen next month, senior administration officials said Monday.
The officials, who briefed a group of reporters on the condition that they would not be identified, said the U.S. delegation would put forward a target as long as other major greenhouse emitters, including major developing nations, did the same.
One official said any specific greenhouse gas cut the U.S. offers would reflect the fact that Congress has yet to finalize climate legislation. The House has passed a bill calling for a 17 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2020 and an 80 percent cut by 2050. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has passed legislation with a 20 percent reduction by 2020, but that number is expected to drop as more centrist lawmakers weigh in on the bill.
"There will be a submission that takes cognizance of where we are in the legislative process," the official said.
U.S. special envoy for climate change Todd Stern told The Post in an interview this month that any emission target the administration identified during the United Nations-sponsored talks would be contingent on the adoption of domestic legislation.
President Obama will make a decision "in the coming days" on whether to attend the Copenhagen talks, one of the senior administration officials said. Dozens of other world leaders have pledged to go, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"The president has always said if it looks as though negotiations have proceeded sufficiently that going to Copenhagen would give a final impetus or push to the process, that he would be willing to go," said the official, adding Obama will make a decision before the talks kick off Dec. 7.
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November 23, 2009; 12:49 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Climate Change
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