Potholes in Road to Copenhagen Climate Accord Widen During Bangkok Talks

By Lisa Friedman in the New York Times, October 9 2009

As nations try to craft a new international agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, the fight over what legal form the document will take has emerged as a technical but critical point.

Developing nations insist that nations are negotiating a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol, the first part of which ends in 2012. Under the set of rules outlined in that 12-year-old agreement, industrialized countries must slash their CO2 emissions, but developing nations -- even fast-growing ones like China and India -- are under no such obligation.

The United States never became a party to Kyoto, largely because of that omission. Since President Obama took office in January, administration officials have pledged to become part of a new international agreement. But they have also consistently called for a new deal to replace Kyoto. America's terms: Major developing nations must make legally binding commitments to temper their own global warming pollution.

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