Asia wants climate deal

More than half the people in Asia believe sealing a new climate deal later this year depends on the leadership of U.S. President Barack Obama, according to a survey released on Thursday by conservation group WWF.

The survey, based on more than 6,000 respondents in August, found that 53 percent believed an agreement on a broader U.N. climate pact at a December meeting in Copenhagen hinged on Obama.

Fifteen percent said leadership by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was critical and 14 percent saw Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a key figure.

“People in developing Asia think a few countries can make all the difference,” said Kim Carstensen, head of the WWF’s Global Climate Initiative.

“If the U.S., China and India live up to the huge leadership potential Asians see in them, Copenhagen can deliver a global deal that protects the world from runaway climate change,” he said in a statement. WWF and Greenpeace Southeast Asia were among the groups that commissioned the survey by Synovate.

The United States never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase ends in 2012, and never signed up to binding emissions curbs agreed to by 37 other industrialised nations.

Under Obama, Washington has set a target to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and the Senate is working on emissions trading laws.

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