Kerry says Paris climate deal will not be legally binding: report

A crunch climate summit in Paris will not deliver a legally binding treaty requiring countries to cut carbon emissions, US Secretary of State John Kerry told the Financial Times (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

London (AFP) - A crunch climate summit in Paris will not deliver a legally binding treaty requiring countries to cut carbon emissions, US Secretary of State John Kerry told the Financial Times on Wednesday.

"It's definitively not going to be a treaty... They're not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto or something," Kerry said, according to the newspaper, referring to the 1997 Kyoto protocol committing states to limit emissions.

The UN Conference of Parties (COP21) meeting of some 100 heads of state and government in December aims to secure a deal to stave off catastrophic levels of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels.

The nations most at risk have appealed for the a stricter goal than limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius -- which the vulnerable nations say will still leave one billion people at risk of rising sea levels and other dire impacts.

An effective deal may rely on the world's biggest polluters such as China and the United States signing up to the pledge.

But a global poll last week found that residents of China and the US were among the least concerned about climate change, in contrast to a global consensus that it is a pressing problem, and US President Barack Obama faces opposition from a hostile Senate in pushing through efforts to combat it.