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UK To Push India And EU Over Climate Change Response

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Nov 01, 2006
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said Wednesday she plans to press India on tackling climate change during a week-long visit to the country. Beckett, whose trip starts Thursday, will meet with her Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before flying to Mumbai and Bangalore.

Britain unveiled a landmark report on the economic implications of climate change earlier this week, and wants a global deal to cut carbon emissions within two years -- with India, China and the United States in the firing line.

India and China signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change but are not included in targeted emissions cuts.

The focus of Beckett's visit will be a follow-up of talks last month in London between Singh and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to enhance cooperation between the two countries on issues like terrorism and the environment.

"India is an important partner for the UK as we both work together to address the global challenges that face the world today," Beckett said in a pre-visit statement.

"Issues such as counter-terrorism and climate change can only be addressed successfully if all the key international players work together," she added.

In Delhi she said she aimed to discuss "cooperation on dealing with global challenges" with the Indian prime minister, the new foreign minister and other senior members of government.

"I will give a public address on how we can work together to tackle the impact of climate change."

Beckett will also address the growing economic ties between India and its former colonial ruler during the trip.

She added: "Our bilateral relationship is underpinned by solid economic and people-to-people links. Cumulatively the UK is the third largest investor in India and India leapt last year from being the eighth to the third largest investor in the UK.

"Over one million people travel between the two countries every year, and our large British Indian community is one of the most successful in the UK. As our two prime ministers agreed, the relationship has never been better.

"I look forward to travelling to Hyderabad and Mumbai to look at development work and the growing business links between the two countries."

earlier related report
EU should be given more power on climate policy: British minister
London (AFP) Nov 1 - The European Union should be given more power in tackling climate change, and London should work closer with Brussels on certain policy areas, a British minister said in an interview with The Guardian published on Wednesday.

Ed Balls's comments come after the publication of the Stern review on Monday, which said that climate change could cost the world up to 20 percent of its gross domestic product, and advocated an expansion of emissions trading schemes, of which one such is operated by the EU.

"On the economy, the social dimension, the environment, enlargement and foreign policy, Europe is going to play a bigger role in the future," Balls, the economic secretary to the finance ministry, said.

"On these issues, it is in the British national interest to collaborate in a closer way in Europe in the future."

Balls is a close ally of finance minister Gordon Brown, widely tipped to succeed Prime Minister Tony Blair when he steps down by September 2007.

The Guardian reported that Balls will argue in a speech to the left-wing Fabian Society that the EU is a vital part of forming a world-wide carbon trading scheme, and therefore one with which Britain must be engaged.

Balls told the newspaper that he was prepared to give the EU stronger powers to enforce an effective emissions trading scheme.

"A policy of positive European engagement with our European partners is a critical stepping stone to combating climate change," he said.

"It is only by being fully engaged at the European level that we will be able to do that."

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
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Reaction To Climate Change Report: Cool To Warm
Paris (AFP) Oct 31, 2006
Reactions Tuesday to a major climate change report warning against environmental catastrophe ranged from chilly skepticism in the US and Australia, to tepid-to-warm endorsements in Japan and Europe. The 600-page Stern Report, released Monday in Britain with the backing of Prime Minister Tony Blair, concluded that unchecked global warming could destroy five-to-20 percent of global gross domestic product every year unless economic measures are quickly taken.

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