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EU to push for binding carbon agreement

The European Union (EU) plans to push for a legally binding agreement on greenhouse gas emissions at the next round of United Nations (UN) climate talks, according to EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard.

"We need to find a way forward to achieving a binding deal," Hedegaard told journalists.

Hedegaard announced the EU position at UN sustainability panel in South Africa on Thursday. The next round of climate talks is scheduled to begin in Durban this December.

Such a proposal is expected to meet stiff resistance. The top US climate change negotiator maintains that the US does not expect the talks to produce a legally binding agreement. The negotiator, Todd Stern, has recently argued that the world's largest greenhouse gas producers -- China and the United States -- should set their own emissions targets.

Hedegaard rejected that idea, and said the world will be "heading for much higher temperatures" if each country sets its own targets.

In addition to more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gases, Hedegaard told journalists the UN also needs to "try to find solutions for aviation and shipping. It is simply not logical that one of the world's truly global means of transportation is explicitly not part of the regulation."

The Durban meeting will be the last scheduled UN conference on climate change before the Kyoto Protocol expires next year.

Monte Paulsen researches sustainability for the nonprofit Tyee Solutions Society.

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