Big economies don't see climate pact this year-U.S.

Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:03pm GMT

* Stern: U.S. is sticking to its emissions goal

* Decisions in Cancun focused on core issues

By Jeff Mason

NEW YORK, Sept 21 (Reuters) - World powers are not aiming for a legally binding pact to fight global warming at a U.N. meeting in Mexico this year and are trying to stop backsliding from a 2009 agreement, the United States said on Tuesday.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern, speaking after a meeting of the Major Economies Forum in New York, reiterated the U.S. pledge to cut its emissions some 17 percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels but declined to outline how that would be done in the absence of U.S. climate legislation.

The U.S. position, weakened by the failure of the Senate and the Obama administration to pass a law requiring emissions cuts, is one of a handful of stumbling blocks ahead of the Nov. 29-Dec. 10 U.N. meeting in Cancun, Mexico, which follows up on last year's chaotic session in Copenhagen.

Stern said some countries from the roughly 190-nation U.N. grouping had moved away from commitments made under the non-binding "Copenhagen Accord" last year to curb greenhouse gas emissions and acknowledged what has become largely accepted among climate watchers: no treaty would come out of Cancun.

"Nobody is anticipating or expecting in any way a legal treaty to be done in Cancun this year," he told reporters.

He said the MEF, which groups 16 of the world's biggest economies, and the 27-nation European Union, representing some 80 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases, had discussed that "backward movement" and agreed on the need to make progress on six core issues including finance and mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change.   Continued...

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