We at least got non-binding targets from India, China: Obama
Washington: President Barack Obama says people are "justified" in being disappointed at the Copenhagen outcome, but at least he was able to secure non-binding agreements from what he called world's would be largest emitters, India and China.
"I think that people are justified in being disappointed about the outcome in Copenhagen," he said Wednesday in an interview with PBS, admitting that the non-binding agreements reached at last week's climate change talks didn' t "move us the way we needed."
"The science says that we've got to significantly reduce emissions over the next - over the next 40 years. There's nothing in the Copenhagen agreement that ensures that that happens," he said.
"What I said was essentially that rather than see a complete collapse in Copenhagen in which nothing at all got done and would have been a huge backward step, at least we kind of held ground and there wasn't too much backsliding from where we were. It didn't move us the way we need to."
Obama who after his return from Copenhagen had claimed that the talks had made a "major breakthrough," while still falling short of reaching a legally binding agreement with transparency, explained how the US reached the non-binding agreement with India, China, Brazil and South Africa.
"What - what did occur was that at a point where there was about to be complete breakdown, and the prime minister of India (Manmohan Singh) was heading to the airport and the Chinese representatives were essentially skipping negotiations, and everybody's screaming, what did happen was, cooler heads prevailed," he said.
"And we were able to at least agree on non-legally binding targets for all countries - not just the United States, not just Europe, but also for China and India, which, projecting forward, are going to be the world's largest emitters," Obama said.
Obama was unable to get leaders to commit to a deadline of 2010 for a legally binding international climate change treaty. Instead, the leaders agreed on a non-legally binding agreement in which all signatories agreed to slow global warming and would commit to publicly list the actions they take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Obama on Wednesday said that the progress made in Copenhagen was "important" in order to show that all countries have a part on solving the problem, but added, "I make no claims, and didn't make any claims going in, that somehow that was going to be everything that we needed to do to solve climate change."