US Signs Up For A Global Climate Pact For The First Time

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The U.S. is ready to join the rest of the world in a climate pact for the first time in history, Bloomberg reports.

The U.S. is joining other developed countries for the first time in saying global greenhouse gases should peak by 2020 and the average worldwide temperature shouldn’t rise more than 2 degrees Celsius, according to a draft document of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

“This is a crucial year for taking rapid and effective global action to combat climate change,” according to the text, not yet final, that is being negotiated by government officials ahead of next week’s G-8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy. The draft was circulated by nongovernmental organisations.

World leaders at the gathering, including President Barack Obama, also will discuss a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol after it expires in 2012. Almost 200 countries are set to gather in Copenhagen in December to debate terms for a new accord to combat rising temperatures and sea levels.

Obama, who will be chairman of the climate meeting, will be watched by other leaders for signals on where the U.S. stands on issues such as emissions-reduction targets and how much rich nations should do to help poorer countries deal with the impacts of climate change.

The Democratic president will arrive in Italy with a victory to promote after the U.S. House approved legislation last week that would set the first-ever U.S. cap on greenhouse gases from power plants, factories and other sources. The Senate hasn’t yet acted on a measure.

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