President Obama will commit the U.S. to dramatic reductions in greenhouse gases by 2050 and will personally travel to a U.N. climate summit next month to drive the pledge, the White House said Wednesday.
Despite not having a consensus in Congress, the administration says things are moving clearly enough that they will commit to reducing greenhouse gases “in the range of” 17 percent by 2020, and 83 percent by 2050.
“We now hope other major economies are going to put forth ambitious actions of their own,” said Carol Browner, the White House’s chief person on climate.
The U.N. had hoped next month’s meeting in Copenhagen could produce a new agreement to replace the Kyoto climate treaty, but those hopes have faded. Instead, world leaders are asking nations to commit to specific goals they want to achieve, and then to complete a binding agreement next year.
The Obama administration said both the direction of negotiations in Congress, and gestures by major emerging economies such as India and China have eased the way for the president to make the commitments. India, China and other developing nations have been a sticking point because they argue they should not be tied to the same targets as developed economies, which have been spewing greenhouse gases for many decades.
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