The European Union sees the United States “disappearing as a partner” in international climate talks after President Barack Obama suffered setbacks in midterm elections, the EU’s top climate official said on Friday.
Obama has conceded that big Republican gains in Tuesday’s elections undermined prospects for comprehensive legislation to tackle climate change.
“We’re very disappointed about the United States going that way and dropping climate legislation,” said Jos Delbeke, director general of the European Commission’s climate team.
“We see the U.S. disappearing as a partner in achieving meaningful climate action,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview from Beijing.
Obama’s election in 2008 and his talk of saving a “planet in peril” briefly encouraged some countries to anticipate significant progress in talks on a new U.N. treaty to slow rising emissions of greenhouse gases.
The U.S. election results have dented the few remaining expectations for a significant result at the next climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29-December 10.