G77: US diplomats must practice what Obama preaches in Paris

Spokeswoman for developing country bloc says US president’s words must translate into negotiating offers at UN COP21 summit

By Alex Pashley

US president Barack Obama said the country was leading efforts to tackle climate change in a speech at a UN summit on Monday.

South Africa’s climate ambassador told Climate Home this must be reflected in a negotiating position that recognises the claims of poor countries in a new global warming accord.

“We hope that what president Obama says here matches the content of his officials,” Joyce Mxakato-Diseko told Climate Home on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Paris: “That they are not empty words, they are translated into negotiating offerings that support development.”

Mxakato-Diseko presided over the 134-strong bloc of countries’ rejection of a negotiating text in October as biased in favour of rich countries.

US secretary of state John Kerry has made it clear the country will not back a legally binding treaty, as it seeks to bypass a Republican-dominated Congress.

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