China, India give nod to climate deal

08:42, March 10, 2010      

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China joined India Tuesday in giving qualified approval to the Copenhagen climate accord which calls for voluntary limits on the greenhouse gas emissions.

A one-sentence note from China's top climate change negotiator, Su Wei, authorized the addition of China to the list. More than 100 countries had earlier replied to a query by Denmark whether they wanted to be "associated" with the accord.

India also sent a note Monday saying that it "stands by the contents of the accord."

The Copenhagen Accord, concluded in a flurry of last-minute diplomacy, set a goal of limiting the increase in the Earth's average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels. But it did not say how that can be achieved or how countries should share the burden of cutting carbon emissions.

It also said developing countries should be given $30 billion over the next three years to help them cope with changes already occurring in rainfall patterns and other effects of climate change.

However, no proposals are put on the table for raising or distributing those funds.

The European Union's climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, told the EU parliament in Brussels Tuesday it would be risky to expect a legally binding deal this year to emerge from the next climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, the Associated Press reported.

Hedegaard said that "remaining differences between parties may delay agreement on this until next year."

Among those differences are whether the U.N. negotiations among 194 countries, bogged down in cumbersome committee deliberations, should be the primary avenue for reaching a legally-binding deal.

The United States has said the Copenhagen Accord should be taken as the basis for negotiations leading up to a full legal agreement in Mexico.

However, in its note to Denmark, India strongly disagreed. "The Accord is not a new track of negotiations or a template for outcomes," said India's environment secretary Rajani Ranjan Rashmi, according to the Associated Press.

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