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Ahead of G20, climate change deadlock kicks up a flurry of proposals

Japan, Australia, and Britain offered plans and urged action Monday to overcome divisions – mainly between rich and developing nations – and forge a global pact to cut emissions.

By Jonathan AdamsCorrespondent / September 21, 2009



Several world leaders sounded off on climate change Monday, three months ahead of talks in Copenhagen seen as a make-or-break moment for getting a global deal on reducing carbon emissions.

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Australia mooted a compromise plan that would take some heat off emerging economies such as China. Britain’s Gordon Brown warned that talks currently faced an impasse. And reports said Japan too would unveil its own initiative.

The climate change hubbub comes ahead of a special United Nations summit Tuesday, and a series of meetings later in the week between United States President Barack Obama and foreign counterparts on the sidelines of this week's G20 summit in Pittsburgh, Penn. One goal of those talks will be to find common ground for a global deal on cutting emissions.

Talks slated for December in Copenhagen will seek to forge a new global climate-change treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The main rift now is between developed countries, led by the US, and rapidly developing economies such as India and China. The US wants those countries to make stronger pledges on cutting emissions before it will sign on to a pact; the poorer countries want compensation for inking a plan they fear could curb economic growth.

The Australian newspaper reported on that country's compromise plan, to be announced later Monday. The plan would remove pressure on China and other developing nations to set emissions targets, but would still require such countries to "submit their own binding 'schedule' of how and where their reductions could be made."

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urged the nation's leaders to move quickly, the paper reported.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also urged action, The Guardian reported, quoting from a forthcoming report in Newsweek.

And former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in New York ahead of the UN summit, aimed to help break the impasse with calculations showing that 10 million jobs could be created and the world's GDP boosted by 0.8 percent by 2020 if nations agree to big greenhouse gas cuts, the Associated Press reported.

Japan, under its new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, is also set to unveil a new plan, dubbed the "Hatoyama Initiative,” under which Tokyo will "drastically cut its greenhouse gas emissions while promising vigorous support for developing countries in climate technology and funding," The Japan Times reports.

But The New York Times reported that European leaders still think the US has a "lack of political will to adequately address climate change," and that resistance to a climate change pact remains entrenched in some quarters of America, raising concerns that US opposition could scuttle a global deal.

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