WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-sponsored climate change talks have moved beyond the political positioning and platitudes that can mire such discussions, the top White House environment official told Reuters on Wednesday.
James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said last week's two-day Washington meeting of the 17 countries that emit the most greenhouse gases featured candid dialogue instead of "the formalistic presentations and set speeches that are typical of these climate discussions."
"It was not hostile but it was frank and we engaged the issue at a level of substance that moved us beyond the platitudes," Connaughton said at the Reuters Environment Summit. "It was intense and it's going to be more intense, because this is hard."
Connaughton disputed news reports in which participants in the talks complained that President George W. Bush seemed isolated in urging voluntary, rather than mandatory, requirements to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming.
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