EU Presses US Before Launch Of Climate Plan
Washington (AFP) Jan 08, 2007
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso Monday challenged the United States to join Europe's battle against climate change, days before the bloc is due to adopt a landmark energy plan.
Barroso said after meeting President George W. Bush that though differences remained, he sensed a growing openness within the Bush administration towards discussing global warming, despite the US refusal to ratify the Kyoto treaty.
In a preview of the EU plan due to be finalized as early as Wednesday, he said clear, binding targets on greenhouse gas emissions were required to combat global warming and set an example for emerging economies like India and China.
"I just spoke today with President Bush and we talked about climate change, so that means we all agree there is a problem," Barroso said at a solo press conference after his White House talks, when asked whether the United States was now serious about tackling climate change.
"I see a much more open attitude, engaging attitude, regarding the need for common action globally on this matter."
Barroso said he found Bush a "receptive interlocutor" on climate change, though noted there were still wide differences.
"Of course, we know that the American position so far has been, and it is, a position of not accepting Kyoto."
Barroso hinted the European energy plan would include clear targets on cutting emissions.
"Having clear binding targets in terms of emissions, we believe in Europe that is important.
"It would make a big difference if the United States is clearly as committed as we are, it will make a great difference, it is not just for us, it is also (about) trying to engage China, India."
Barroso declined to detail the EU plan but other EU officials here said the scheme would be the most "important and ambitious" energy plan ever adopted by the bloc.
Some media reports have said the initiative could call for cuts in emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and will include bolstered targets on energy efficiency and back more research into low carbon fuels.
The United States is the world's biggest single contributor to man-made global warming, accounting for a quarter of global emissions of greenhouse gases.
Bush has argued that Kyoto would hurt the US economy, and is strongly opposed to its approach of binding cuts, also called caps, in emissions.
Instead, he has promoted voluntary action, backed by some incentives for cleaner energy sources and gains in energy efficiency.
In a short appearance before reporters after meeting Barroso at the White House, Bush did not mention climate change specifically, but said the two men were hopeful "use of technologies and good policy will help us diversify our energy supplies and be able to assure future generations that the environment of the world will be better off."
Kyoto commits industrialized countries that have signed and ratified the treaty to trim greenhouse gases by 2012, as compared with a 1990 benchmark. It does not require larger developing countries to make these pledges, an approach that Bush says is unfair.
Some US states have implemented their own regulations, such as California, which in September mandated a 25 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 and sued six US and Japanese auto makers for their alleged contribution to global warming.
Source: Agence France-Presse
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Climate Chief Seeks UN Summit To Invigorate Global Warming Action
Paris (AFP) Jan 08, 2007
The top United Nations official on climate change said on Monday he would ask new UN boss Ban Ki-moon to show true leadership and host a summit to breathe life into sagging efforts to fight global warming. Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said he would make the pitch when he went to New York next week to meet the UN secretary general, who took office on January 1.
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