Copenhagen represents a significant step forward, U.S. ambassador says

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The United States Ambassador to the European Union (EU) William E. Kennard said in Brussels Wednesday that Copenhagen represents "a significant step forward," and the agreements were "actually very transparent."

When giving a breakfast policy briefing Wednesday morning, Kennard said the agreements established the long-term goals and devised landmark funding goals for both short term and long term, to get funds flowing in the countries that are most threatened and probably least able to make those investments.

"The U.S. had hoped to go to Copenhagen with legislations passed by both houses of Congress, but that didn't happen," he said, admitting that it was tough at Copenhagen talks.

"We had hoped to come to Copenhagen with legislations on climate reforms signed into laws, not to replicate the situation we had with the Kyoto protocol," said the ambassador.

"Nevertheless we continued to make efforts." He said, for example, U.S. mayors had come together and set their own goals for their cities, while many of U.S. states imposed stricter environmental standards.

He said, President Barack Obama directed the environment protection agency through regulations to take steps to reduce carbon emission for power plants, and 2.3 billion U.S. dollars in tax credits will be given to entrepreneurs.

The president also plans to invest up to 66 billion dollars to improve technology, according to the ambassador.

"Although we did not have the confidence that the treaty would be ratified by the Senate," he said. "We are optimistic that we can have something that is tangible and biding, which depends on the U.S. ability to get a meaningful climate change legislation out of the Congress."

It depends a lot on the perception of the U.S. of what's happening in the world community, he said. "If there is a powerful consensus that the world is moving toward tangible and legally binding agreements, it will help us with our domestic policies."

When asked about China's role at Copenhagen talks, the ambassador said, it is very apparent to everyone that China has to be on the table, on any meaningful outcome on climate change.

"That has always been the position of the U.S.," he said.

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