23.04.2001 | General newsBush signals readiness for global climate talks
The Bush administration yesterday signalled willingness to participate in global climate change talks this year, but made clear it would not back away from its view that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is dead. The stance, outlined by US officials, was interpreted as a slight softening of Washington's position, coming after diplomats, cabinet ministers and environmental activists from 40 countries meeting in New York at the weekend criticised the US for its rejection of the Kyoto treaty. Participants in the meeting, including European Union environment ministers, vowed to proceed with efforts to win ratification of the pact, which would reduce levels of so-called «greenhouse gases» associated with global warming.
The US announced last month that it would not sign the Kyoto treaty because its pollution-reducing mandates would harm the US economy. Under the treaty, the US would be required to reduce its gaseous emissions by 7 per cent from 1990 levels. But carbon dioxide emissions have continued to grow since the treaty was signed, to almost 15 per cent above 1990 levels.
After the meeting in New York, Jan Pronk, the Dutch environment minister who has presided over recent United Nations negotiations on the Kyoto treaty, said the world had no alternatives but to try and implement the treaty. Global climate change discussions are set to resume in Germany in July.