US, UN officials see hope for binding climate deal

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The top U.S. climate official says the nonbinding Copenhagen Accord is at a critical moment that will decide whether it becomes a mandatory treaty for cutting greenhouse gases.

Todd Stern told Wall Street leaders and investors that will only happen if the “major players” provide the United Nations by the end of January with plans for reducing carbon emissions by 2020.

Stern, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy for climate change, said the accord is “lumbering down the runway” toward becoming a legal agreement.

He said countries now need to step forward and formally associate themselves with a deal that emerged principally from President Barack Obama’s meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and the leaders of India, Brazil and South Africa.