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Britain urges developing world to fight climate change
HANOI (AFP) Oct 09, 2004
Britain called Saturday for developing countries to join the offensive against climate change by balancing their need for economic growth with protection of the environment.

"Climate change is the world's greatest environmental challenge," British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott told a summit of Asian and European countries here.

He said the international community had to build on the Kyoto protocol on climate change "to secure a long-term global consensus on sustainable development, encompassing both developed and developing nations".

"We need a consensus which allows developing nations' economies to grow and their industries to prosper," Prescott said, according to the text of his remarks released by the British delegation.

After years of doubt over whether the Kyoto agreement will ever take effect, Russia is now preparing to ratify the pact, moving the United Nations global warming pact a step closer to implementation.

The European Union has always been an enthusiastic backer of the accord. But the United States is still holding out, while developing countries are not bound to make specific pollution cuts.

Environmentalists fear that without having major developing economies such as China and India on board, the accord's goal of slashing emissions of greenhouse gases will be severely undermined.

At the summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) here, Prescott urged all ASEM nations "to rethink the criteria used to apportion the emissions targets to secure greater agreement for future cooperation of developing nations".

He also called on all ASEM nations to join the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, a British-inspired initiative to promote the development of renewable sources and energy-efficient systems.

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