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. EU Proposes New Greenhouse Gas Targets

Brussels (AFP) Mar 10, 2005
European Union environment ministers proposed Thursday that industrialised countries set new targets for reducing greenhouse gases after internationally-agreed rules expire in 2012.

The ministers proposed that developed countries make plans for reducing emissions by 15 to 30 percent by 2020 and by 60 to 80 percent by 2050 from benchmark levels in 1990.

The EU commission and a dozen EU states including Italy and Spain have until now opposed fixing targets over concerns it would discourage the US and some developing countries from joining efforts to fight global climate change.

The so-called Kyoto protocol, which sets a target for a 5.2-percent cut in emissions by the industrialised world by 2008-2012 compared to 1990, calls for the opening of negotiations on new targets at the end of the year.

French Environment Minister Serge Lepeltier, who was initially opposed to setting a target for as soon as 2020, said that "it would have sent a bad signal to the whole world" if EU states did not set targets because "Europe has the will to remain the engine behind the struggle against climate change."

Long a champion of Kyoto, the EU is urging other countries to follow its lead after the United States, the world's principal polluter, rejected the accord, setting a precedent for emerging countries such as India and China.

The environment ministers conclusions have yet to be discussed and adopted by heads of state at a March 22-23 summit here.

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Britain Calls For More Technology That Cuts Greenhouse Gas Emissions

London (AFP) Mar 10, 2005 - The world economy must step up the introduction of technology that will reduce "greenhouse gas" emissions because fossil fuels will continue to dominate the market in the future, the British government said Thursday.

In an article to be published in the British press, two cabinet ministers outlined their view ahead of a meeting on March 15-16 in London of energy and finance ministers from the G8 group of leading industrial countries.

"It is important that the G8 accepts the urgency of the problem and the need to take action," wrote Environment Minister Margaret Beckett and Trade and Industry Minister Patricia Hewitt.

"As the world's economy grows, energy demand will undoubtedly increase," their article said.

"In 2002, generation of energy and heat accounted for 40 percent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. Although energy from renewables is growing rapidly we must accept that fossil fuels will continue to generate the majority of the world's energy for the foreseeable future," it said.

"But we can make fossil fuels cleaner, encourage the development and deployment of renewable energy and increase the efficiency of energy production and end use," the article said.

"Many of these technologies exist already and can be implemented at a much lower cost than imagined," it said.

Many have argued these measures make economic sense. Swiss Re, the world's second largest re-insurer, has estimated that the economic costs of global warming could double to 150 billion US dollars each year in the next decade.

Britain has made tackling climate change one of its priorities as it chairs this year the presidency of the Group of Eight, comprised of the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, Canada, France, Italy and Russia.

Britain has also announced it as a priority of its presidency later this year of the European Union.

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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