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US underplays differences with India over climate change

Seeking to underplay differences with India over climate change, the US says it is "encouraging" that both countries are committed to do whatever they can to reach an agreement on a new UN climate treaty at Copenhagen.

world Updated: Jul 21, 2009 12:59 IST

Seeking to underplay differences with India over climate change, the US says it is "encouraging" that both countries are committed to do whatever they can to reach an agreement on a new UN climate treaty at Copenhagen.

"Well, I don't think so," Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, told reporters Monday when asked how sharp differences between India and US on the climate change issue would impact the strategic ties between them.

"I mean, obviously, there are differing points of view. They did come up in the event that the secretary (of state Hillary Clinton) had over the weekend," he said referring to Indian Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh's assertion Sunday that India can't accept legally binding greenhouse emission targets.

"I don't think they were necessarily as sharp as perhaps some of the reporting would have suggested. You know, this is a subject of ongoing negotiations," Crowley said.

"I think what is encouraging is that both the United States and India are committed to do whatever they can to reach a successful agreement in Copenhagen later this year," he said. "But obviously negotiations are ongoing, but I think the secretary felt it was a constructive conversation."

At the same time, Crowley also reiterated the US stand that to successfully address the challenge of climate change "meaningful steps" would have to be taken "both by developed countries, like the United States, and emerging countries, like India and China".

"But obviously, as we've made clear ... the US and other developed countries have a special responsibility because up until now we have in fact generated many of the greenhouse gases that have brought us to where we are."

"But we also recognize, going forward, that something like 80 percent of the greenhouse gases that will be emitted in the future will come from countries like India and China," Crowley said.

So "ultimately, for us to successfully address the challenge of climate change in the world, you have to have meaningful steps done both by developed countries, like the United States, and emerging countries, like India and China."