AP source: US, 4 other nations reach climate pact

AP News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2009 4:32 PM

The United States and four other countries, including China, have reached a climate agreement that includes a way to verify reductions of heat-trapping gases. A senior administration official says the agreement between the countries also requires each country to list the actions they will take to cut global warming pollution by specific amounts. The deal reiterates a goal set earlier this year on long-term emissions cuts and provides a mechanism to be help poor countries prepare for climate change.

The deal includes the United States, China, India, South Africa and Brazil. The official described the deal on the condition of anonymity because details had not been announced.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

COPENHAGEN (AP) _ President Barack Obama raced from one impromptu meeting to another and made an animated plea for compromise Friday, making plain his frustration over the difficulty of pushing world leaders to settle on a plan to combat global warming.

"We are running short on time," Obama told the 193-nation summit as the clock was running out on its final day. "There has to be movement on all sides."

Working into the night and putting his departure time in question, Obama had scheduled a second one-on-one meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao after an earlier session of nearly an hour. But that second meeting did not take place and it was unclear why.

Officials had said the two men made a step forward in their earlier talks, though the degree of progress was not clear.

Obama also attended a third meeting with other world leaders, the only that Wen attended.

Late in the evening, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held talks with European leaders, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Asked how negotiations were going as he entered the meeting, Obama replied: "Always hopeful."

The direct talks between Obama and Wen underscored efforts to resolve differences that represent one of the major roadblocks in reaching a global climate deal. The U.S. has been insisting that China, the only nation that emits more heat-trapping gasses than the U.S., make its emissions-reduction pledges subject to international review.

Without mentioning China specifically, Obama addressed Beijing's resistance in his speech.

"I don't know how you have an international agreement where we all are not sharing information and making sure we are meeting our commitments," he said. "That doesn't make sense. It would be a hollow victory."

Obama indirectly acknowledged that some nations feel the United States is doing too little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and he urged leaders to accept a less-than-perfect pact. Meanwhile, he offered no new U.S. concessions.

"No country will get everything that it wants," Obama said.

It's possible that Obama's biggest success here will have nothing to do with the climate. He met with the Russian president and said afterward that the United States and Russia are "quite close" to a new nuclear arms control agreement to replace an expired Cold War-era arms control treaty.

In his speech, Obama said the United States has acted boldly by vowing to reduce greenhouse gasses and help other nations pay for similar efforts. Critics note that many industrialized nations have promised much larger reductions.

And yet Obama arrived in snow-covered Copenhagen with no new proposal from the U.S. side. Some had hoped he might increase Washington's emissons-cut pledge, now only a fraction of those from other developed countries, or put a specific dollar amount on America's expected contributions to short- or long-term aid funds to help poorer nations deal with the effects of climate change.

Obama had planned to spend only about nine hours at the summit. But the rapid success of meetings added several hours to his stay.

The U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses mirrors legislation before Congress. It calls for 17 percent reduction in such pollution from 2005 levels by 2020 _ the equivalent of 3 percent to 4 percent from the more commonly used baseline of 1990 levels. That is far less than the offers from the European Union, Japan and Russia.

Even that target was hard-won in a skittish Congress, and Obama has decided he can't go further without potentially souring final passage of the bill, approved in the House but not yet considered in the Senate. He also could imperil eventual Senate ratification of any global treaty that emerges next year.

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