Two months before a key UN climate conference, European and Asian leaders pledged Tuesday to seek an urgent, legally-binding deal on global warming that would include deep cuts in emissions.
“They shared the goal of reaching urgently a fair, effective and comprehensive legally binding outcome,” said a final statement approved at the 46-nation Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held in Brussels.
“Leaders agreed that deep cuts in global emissions are required, recognising the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below two degrees Celsius,” the text said.
The pledge, however, lacks any deadline or timeline for achieving this goal.
The ASEM summit grouped the 27-nation European Union, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Mongolia, New Zealand and Russia.
The ASEM statement came as delegates from more than 170 countries met in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin this week in an effort to break the stalemate ahead of the next United Nations conference.
The UN climate meeting will take place between November 29 and December 10 in Cancun, Mexico, one year after the much-criticised meeting in Copenhagen.
Major carbon emitters including the United States and China remain far apart on climate change.
Hopes are low that any binding deals on cutting greenhouse gas emissions can be reached at the talks in the Mexican resort amid lingering bitterness following Copenhagen.
The Copenhagen conference last December agreed on the goal of capping global temperature rises at 2.0 degree Celsius (3.6 degree Fahrenheit) and pledged 100 billion dollars a year to help poor countries cope with climate change.
But it failed to muster the requisite emissions-reduction commitments from carbon producers or specify who would provide the mitigation funds.
Major emerging nations such as China and India also have resisted legally binding requirements to cut emissions, saying rich countries are historically responsible for global warming and must take the lead.