Mexico calls U.S. a “stumbling block” in U.N. climate talks

The United States came under pressure to show leadership in U.N. climate talks on Wednesday with Mexico saying its neighbor is a stumbling block in efforts to try to craft a tough global climate agreement by December.

The United States has been criticized by developing countries and green groups in talks in the Thai capital for not being able to put a tough emissions reduction target for 2020 on the table, instead focusing on a 2050 target.

Developing nations also worry over Washington’s position that any new climate pact should set legally binding domestic steps to cut emissions as a benchmark for global action to fight climate change.

“I think that they are in an uncomfortable position since they cannot put on the table any figures unless the Congress process is clearer,” Fernando Tudela, head of the Mexican climate delegation in Bangkok, told Reuters in an interview.

“They are increasingly identified as a stumbling block for the negotiations and it’s up to them to dispel this perception and to show the real leadership we’re expecting from them.”

A climate bill drafted by U.S. Senate Democrats aims for a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from 2005 levels. But President Barack Obama’s administration says he is unlikely to sign the legislation before a major December conference in Copenhagen aimed at sealing a new climate pact.

The Senate bill target equates to a 7 percent cut on 1990 levels by 2020, far below the 25-40 percent cuts by then that the U.N. climate panel and developing countries say rich nations should support to avoid dangerous climate change.