Senior White House Official: The 'Chinese Are Dug In'; 'We've Done What We Can' in Copenhagen

"We've done what we can here," a senior White House official in Copenhagen, Denmark, tells ABC News. "The Chinese are dug in on transparency and are refusing to let people know they're living up to their end of the agreement."

After landing in Denmark early this morning, President Obama met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a bilateral at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to press the case that China needs to allow for transparency.

"The President's priority is to make our economy far more focused on a clean energy economy that creates jobs," the official said. "He is here to work constructively and participate in hoping to get an international accord. But not getting one here won't change wanting to transform our economy to create the new foundation he's talked about."

The original goal of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was a legally binding international treaty reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. It became clear months ago that at least partly because of the Chinese refusal to commit to serious greenhouse gas emission cuts, that would not happen.

Leaders from more than 190 countries have spent the last two weeks working on a more informal agreement, but that might not happen either.

President Obama said publicly today that "we must have a mechanism to review whether we are keeping our commitments, and to exchange this information in a transparent manner. These measures need not be intrusive, or infringe upon sovereignty. They must, however, ensure that an accord is credible, and that we are living up to our obligations. For without such accountability, any agreement would be empty words on a page."

He also noted that the agreement must "have financing that helps developing countries adapt, particularly the least-developed and most vulnerable to climate change."

He noted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to resolve a separate issue -- the need of developing nations for money to help mitigate environmental rules and adapt to environmental chamges -- by offering to help raise $100 billion dollars to address their climate change needs.

But the US offer, Clinton underlined, was only "in the context of a strong accord in which all major economies stand behind meaningful mitigation actions and provide full transparency as to their implementation."

President Obama noted that as well, saying the offer was on the table "if -- and only if -- it is part of the broader accord" including transparency.

-- jpt

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