Cancun climate talks only a 'staging post': British PM

16th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Upcoming climate talks in Mexico will only be a "staging post" en route to a globally binding deal, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Tuesday, pressing notably the US and China to do more.

In a satellite link-up chat with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, he praised US President Barack Obama for making progress compared to his predecessor, but said the world needs to keep pressure on the United States.

"I think that President Obama has made some big steps forward," he said, citing George W. Bush's refusal to sign up to the Kyoto climate change agreement.

"But obviously we've got to try and persuade both the American government and the Chinese government that it's actually in their interest to enter into a proper legally binding deal."

Representatives of 194 countries are to meet in the Mexican resort city of Cancun from November 29 to December 10 for a second go at striking a deal to curb greenhouse gases after 2012, after last year's failed Copenhagen summit.

Cameron said he was not pessimistic in general, but played down prospects of a deal in Cancun.

"Copenhagen wasn't a success, we all know that," he said, adding: "We're not going to get a global, legally binding deal at Cancun. We've got to make it a staging post towards that deal."

And addressing a conference in California by satellite from London, he stressed: "To get a proper international deal, we need the Chinese to really agree to proper monitoring and evaluation and recording of their emissions.

"But we also... need to persuade the American administration that it is worthwhile to have a deal that they enter into, as part of the rest of the world all making offers," he added.

Schwarzenegger, who has made climate change one of his priorities in seven years as California governor, said political leaders had to make the subject sexy for younger people.

"What is important is that we make the general public buy in on this whole idea of going green," he said.

"If you don't have the general public behind it, you don't have much. You can have all the policy in the world, (but) you've got to make it hip, you've got to make it sexy to be part of this movement."

© 2010 AFP

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