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EU eyes 2010 for binding climate treaty

BRUSSELS, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The EU is looking for new allies in the fight against climate change after a failed Copenhagen summit.

The Swedish EU presidency, which is in its final days, has blasted the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a "disaster."

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After two weeks of chaotic talks, leaders failed to agree to a legally binding climate-protection treaty that spells out concrete emissions-reduction targets for developed and developing nations.

German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen was quoted by Deutsche Welle Online as saying that a "coalition of the like-minded" was needed to fast-track climate protection.

"We have to find allies that will join us on the path to the next conferences," Roettgen said Tuesday at a conference of EU environment ministers. "There are such states, and these new alliances must be organized."

The EU in Brussels made it clear that it wants a binding treaty by the end of next year.

A few countries have tried to push for a binding treaty in Copenhagen. Besides the EU, this included Japan and South Korea.

The first official U.N. meeting after Copenhagen will take place next June in Bonn, Germany, followed by COP16 next winter in Mexico City. There, it will be crucial to get the major emitters China and the United States on board, both of which were harshly criticized after Copenhagen.

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"Europe never lost its aim, never, never came to splits or different positions," said Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren, according to Deutsche Welle Online. "But of course, this was mainly about other countries really (being) unwilling, and especially the United States and China."

The EU has come forward with ambitious climate-protection targets. It has pledged to cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and has promised to boost that commitment to 30 percent in case of a global treaty.

But no such treaty materialized at Copenhagen, where leaders managed to only "take note" of an accord that communicates the desire to limit the temperature increase to 3.6 degrees F but spells out no concrete targets for the major economies or the developing countries on how to achieve that target.

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