Delegates from 195 countries are due to finalise a new global climate accord in Paris that will replace the Kyoto treaty, which failed to stop emissions rising. The US signed but failed to ratify that treaty, largely because it did not cover China, now the world’s largest carbon polluter.
A European Commission spokeswoman on Wednesday said the commission and many nations “would like the Paris agreement to be in the form of a protocol or a treaty” which would represent “the strongest expression of political will and also for the future it provides predictability and durability”.
Privately, EU officials acknowledge the Obama administration is eager for a deal in Paris, but not one containing new, legally binding measures because these would strengthen arguments that the agreement needs approval from a hostile US Senate, which must ratify all treaties.
To that end, negotiators are trying to craft an agreement that satisfies all sides, possibly by making its rules and procedures legally binding, but not the actual targets in many of the climate pledges that nearly 160 countries have made this year for the deal.