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'US looking for ambitious, fair agreement at Paris climate summit'

The Times of India, Washington, 25th November, 2015


The US is looking for an "ambitious" and "fair" agreement at the Paris climate conference which accelerates the transition to clean energy and is applicable to all countries, America's top official on climate change has said.


"We are looking for an agreement that is ambitious, effective, fair, and durable; that accelerates the transition that we all need to a clean energy, low-carbon, resilient economy worldwide; and that is applicable to all parties, all countries," Todd Stern, the Special Envoy for Climate Change in the State Department, told reporters.


"This is one of the really critical features of this agreement that everybody is going to be involved, everybody engaged," Stern said ahead of the important summit on climate change beginning next week in Paris, which would be attended by top global leaders including US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


"I think it's also critically important that this is an agreement that sends a signal -- and if we do it right, it's going to send a signal -- to the public, to civil society, to the private sector all over the world that the leaders of the world have taken this issue on, that we're moving forward, and that there's no going back," he said.


"In terms of the critical issues, we need strong mitigation -- that's the effort to reduce emissions. We need excellent transparency. It's important that all countries and observers can see what everybody's doing, whether they're following through on the commitments and pledges that they've made. We need strong provisions on adaptation," he said.


"There's a great many countries who don't emit very much but who -- face great risk from the effects of and impacts of climate change, and even countries who are advanced -- I mean, we know this in the United States; just look at Hurricane Sandy and the droughts that we're suffering and so many other things," Stern said.


"All countries have a real challenge in adaptation and this agreement means to enhance and increase the focus on adaptation," he said.


According to US officials, countries also need strong provisions on financial and other kinds of assistance to poor countries that need it.