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December 7th, 2009
03:30 PM ET

U.S. defends its climate plan as talks open

Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times

Jonathan Pershing, the State Department deputy special envoy on climate change, represented the United States as climate talks opened in Copenhagen on Monday. Mr. Pershing addressed reporters after the initial,  largely ceremonial and administrative, opening session.

At a news conference, he fended off questions from European reporters about the adequacy of  President Obama’s plan for emissions cuts, which is roughly parallel to what is laid out in legislation in the House and Senate. The proposal calls for a 30 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2025, 42 percent by 2030 and more than 80 percent by 2050.

He said the targets were in line with a long-term trajectory for emissions that scientists had defined as avoiding the worst risks, but only if all countries – including emerging economic powers among developing countries — did their part, as well. “It’s a vision that moves the United States down the curve of greenhouse gas emissions at a level that no other country has even begun to seriously contemplate,” Mr. Pershing said.

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