President Barack Obama has ruled out the setting of legally binding targets for tackling climate change at the Copenhagen summit next month. He said that “time had run out” to form a cohesive agreement and put his weight behind delaying a formal pact until the beginning of next year at the earliest. “During a hastily convened meeting in Singapore, the US president supported a Danish plan to salvage something from next month’s meeting by aiming to make it a first-stage series of commitments rather than an all-encompassing protocol. Postponing many contentious decisions on emissions targets, financing and technology transfer until the second-stage, leaders will instead try to reach a political agreement in Copenhagen that sends a strong message of intent. While this falls short of hopes that the meeting would lock in place a global action plan to replace the Kyoto protocol, it recognises the lack of progress in recent preparatory talks and the hold-ups of climate legislation in the US Senate.”
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