The United States is no longer demanding a binding emissions cap for China, Todd Stern announced this week.

Instead, the US is looking for continuing actions along the lines of the actions they have been taking, which I’ve been told are viewed by the administration as comparable effort in a number of areas, from vehicle performance standards to renewable energy portfolio standards.

The administration wants to be able to tell American people that China gave as much as it got – particularly, they want to show that American business will not be damaged by an agreement. If Chinese sectors important for trade are making no strides in reducing emissions, the political fallout will be that the agreement is making the US less economically competitive.

This dropped demand by the US may smooth the path to an agreement between the US and China.