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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Calls For Binding Green Laws

GENEVA -- The United States unveiled a new policy Wednesday, saying it was willing to make binding commitments to reduce the air pollution that is causing the earth's climate to overheat.

Developed nations should commit themselves to capping emissions of so-called greenhouse gases which come from burning fossil fuels, said Timothy Wirth, U.S. undersecretary of state for global affairs.

Wirth was speaking at a climate change conference attended by 150 governments which aims to work towards a legally binding agreement requiring industrialized countries to reduce gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. The agreement is to be signed next year.

The U.S. stand was a shift from its previous policy of calling for a voluntary plan, which the Clinton administration from its predecessor.

Wirth told reporters that the previous voluntary regimes had not worked. Leadership from the United States on the matter was now essential, he said.

U.S. oil and power lobbyists were dismayed by the policy shift, but environmentalists were jubilant.