U.S. formally embraces Copenhagen climate deal

A worker walks past a billboard as the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 installation disassembling works are in progress in Bella Center Copenhagen December 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday formally notified the United Nations that it has embraced the Copenhagen Accord setting nonbinding goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that was negotiated last month.

Todd Stern, the top U.S. climate negotiator for the Obama administration, also gave notice that, as expected, it will aim for a 17 percent reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming by 2020, with 2005 as the base year.

A final emissions reduction target will be submitted, the U.S. said, once the U.S. Congress enacts domestic legislation requiring carbon pollution cuts. But such legislation has an uncertain fate in the Senate.

Reporting by Richard Cowan, Editing by Sandra Maler