China, U.S. Praise Nonbinding Climate Agreement

AP reports:

China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, on Sunday lauded the outcome of the U.N. climate conference, which produced a nonbinding agreement that urges major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts — but does not require it.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the climate talks that brought together more than 110 world leaders in Copenhagen delivered “significant and positive” results.

The Obama administration on Sunday also defended the agreement as a “great step forward” — despite widespread disappointment among environmentalists, who lament that the pact does not include mandatory targets that would draw sanctions.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Brown has blamed both the U.S. and China for the failure to deliver a more substantive agreement, the Telegraph reports:

Mr Brown invested a large amount of time in the process, but yesterday was forced to admit that the results were far from what had been hoped for after years of lobbying. He said the European Union was prepared to go to cut emissions by 30 per cent, but other needed to follow.

He said: “What we need is not just one part of the world going to higher ranges of ambitions, we need the other parts of the world as well,” Mr Brown said.

“If America and China were able to show that they were doing more, and I believe that they could, then all countries – Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea – all these countries that have got ranges would be prepared to go to their highest level of ambition.”

Read also: “How China Stiffed the World in Copenhagen” from Foreign Policy. China has rejected accusations by British Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband that it hijacked climate negotiations.