Hopes fading for full climate change treaty

Hopes that a full, legally-binding treaty on tackling climate change would be signed at next month's Copenhagen summit are fading, Ed Miliband has acknowledged.

The Climate Change Secretary indicated that a political agreement, with a timetable setting out the path to a full international treaty, was now set to be the major goal for the meeting.

He told MPs the Government would have preferred a full treaty but any deal that does emerge from the talks must contain detailed commitments.

African nations walked out of the latest round of UN climate change talks in Barcelona this week in a protest calling for deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from richer nations.

Miliband said: "The UN negotiations are moving too slowly and not going well."

There was a "history of mistrust" between developed and developing nations and people were "stuck in entrenched positions".

Turning to next month's summit he said: "The Danes, who are the hosts of the meeting, have said rather clearly in the last couple of weeks they think achieving a full legal treaty, given the pace of the negotiations, is unlikely.

"We would have preferred a full legal treaty, it has to be said.

"I think the important thing about the agreement we now seek in December is that while it may be a political agreement it must lead, on a very clear timetable, to a legally binding treaty.

"So, in other words, in December we must set the terms of the movement to a legally binding treaty because that seems to me to be very, very important.

"Also, I'll be completely clear about this, I think an agreement without numbers is not a great agreement. In fact it's a wholly inadequate agreement."

He added: "We must have reduction commitments from developed countries.

"We also must have action from developing countries which translate into reduced quantities of emissions - not cuts in emissions, yet, from major developing countries before 2020 but real actions which contribute to the kind of peaking of global emissions which I think is a central part of this agreement."

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