As Climate Talks Kick Off, Countries Begin to Show Their Cards and Work Towards a Deal, Says WWF

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WWF calls on president to make climate change next legislative priority to ensure Senate passage of critical climate bill in early 2010.

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With news of US emissions reductions and his decision to attend the Copenhagen climate summit, President Obama kicked off a series of positive announcements from key countries.

As 192 nations convene in Copenhagen today to negotiate a new global climate deal, the prospects of reaching a successful outcome have never been greater following major announcements over the past week by the US, China, India and South Africa, said officials from World Wildlife Fund.

“With news of US emissions reductions and his decision to attend the Copenhagen climate summit, President Obama kicked off a series of positive announcements from key countries,” said WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts. “A global agreement is within our grasp now. The final missing ingredient is the President’s public commitment to make climate change his next legislative priority after healthcare. This is fundamental in conveying to other countries that the US will live up to its commitments on climate change.”

With midterm elections fast approaching, the President must ensure the Senate takes up climate change immediately after healthcare to ensure a climate bill passes in early 2010, before the legislative process grinds down for the elections, Roberts noted.

Two weeks ago, the President announced that he would attend the Copenhagen talks and offered a US commitment to reduce emissions. His statement was followed by pledges from China and India to reduce their energy intensity by 40-45 percent and 20-25 percent, respectively, by 2020. South Africa then announced it would reduce its emissions below projections by 2020 by 34 percent, and pledged to ensure its absolute emissions peak and plateau would occur between 2020 and 2025 – the first such commitment by a major developing nation. As with the US numbers, these countries’ commitments are all contingent on a global climate deal.

Nearly 100 world leaders will be attending the Copenhagen summit, including President Obama, who last week changed the date of his trip so that he will be there during the final, and most critical, period of the conference.

“We commend President Obama for his decision to be in Copenhagen during what will be a critical moment in the UN climate talks,” said Roberts. “Clearly this news injects a renewed sense of optimism that we can nail down a deal in Copenhagen.”

The recent White House announcement also included a commitment by the US to provide its fair share of financial support for poorer nations.

“Providing the financial support to help developing companies reduce their emissions and cope with impacts of climate change has always been the key to unlocking a global agreement,” Roberts said. “We commend the President for letting the world know that the US intends to take a leadership role in addressing the need for both short and long-term financial support to developing countries, which will be a key factor in a successful Copenhagen outcome.”

ACT FOR OUR FUTURE
For more information about WWF’s efforts to secure Senate passage of climate legislation, please visit http://www.ActForOurFuture.org.

ABOUT WORLD WILDLIFE FUND
WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit http://www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.

World Wildlife Fund
1250 24th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20037-1193
USA
http://www.worldwildlife.org

Leslie Aun, WWF
+1 703 517-4550 – mobile
leslie.aun(at)wwfus.org

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