US to be 'pragmatic on climate' By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst, Bonn
The US must balance science with what is politically and technologically achievable on climate change, America's lead negotiator has said.
Speaking at UN talks in Bonn, Jonathan Pershing said the US must not offer more than it could deliver by 2020.
Poor countries said the latest science showed rich states should cut emissions by 40% on 1990 levels by 2020.
President Barack Obama's plan merely to stabilise greenhouse gases at 1990 levels by 2020 is much less ambitious.
Mr Pershing, the US delegation head, previously spent many years promoting clean energy for the International Energy Agency and at the Washington think-tank WRI - World Resources Institute.
He told the BBC he was very worried the Earth might already be committed to dangerous climate change.
But he said the US should not make promises for 2020 that it could not keep: "It is not the point in time in 2020 that matters - it is a long-term trajectory against which the science measures cumulative emissions.
"The president has also announced his intent to pursue an 80% reduction by 2050.
"It is clear that the less we do in the near-term, the more we have to do in the long-term. But if we set a target that is un-meetable technically, or we can't pass it politically, then we're in the same position we are in now… where the world looks to us and we are out of the regime.
"We want to be in (the regime), we want to be pragmatic, we want to look at the science. There is a small window of where they overlap. We hope to find it." (Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7980441.stmPublished: 2009/04/03 00:22:29 GMT)
This can happen before 2020. For more information, please see www.campaignforgreen.com.