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US to Pay 'Fair Share' of Climate Package

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The United States will pay a "fair share" of the proposed US$10 billion in annual aid to help developing countries cope with climate change, the White House said on Friday.

"There appears to be an emerging consensus that a core element of the Copenhagen accord should be to mobilize US$10 billion a year by 2012" to support adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable and least developed countries that could be destabilized by the impacts of climate change, the White House said in a statement.

"The United States will pay its fair share of that amount and other countries will make substantial commitments as well," the statement said.

The White House also announced that President Barack Obama would attend the end of the Copenhagen summit instead of the start as originally planned.

"After months of diplomatic activity, there is progress being made towards a meaningful Copenhagen accord in which all countries pledge to take action against the global threat of climate change," the White House said.

"Based on his conversations with other leaders and the progress that has already been made to give momentum to negotiations, the president believes that continued US leadership can be most productive through his participation at the end of the Copenhagen conference on December 18 rather than on December 9," the statement said.

The Copenhagen summit is scheduled to be held from December 7 to December 18, where representatives of about 190 countries are expected to renew green house gas emissions reduction targets set by the Kyoto Protocol, the first stage of which is to expire in 2012. It is also expected to outline the post-2012 negotiation path.

On November 25, the White House said the United States will offer a17-percent reduction target of its greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2020 at the Copenhagen meeting, which is about 4 percent emissions cut below 1990 levels. This reduction rate is about half of the requirement of the Kyoto Protocol, which the United States has refused to ratify.

The European Union has committed to reducing its emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020, compared with 1990 levels. The new government in Tokyo has pledged to reduce Japan's emissions by 25 percent by 2020, also against 1990 levels, provided other countries make similar commitments.

However, scientists believe that developed countries should slash their emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

(Xinhua News Agency December 5, 2009)

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