The Heat Is Online

E.U. to Pursue Kyoto Without U.S.

Allies Tell Bush They'll Act Alone on Climate Accord

The New York Times, July 22, 2001

GENOA, Italy, July 21 — As tens of thousands of demonstrators marched toward the center of this ancient city and occasionally clashed with the police, the United States' leading allies told President Bush today that they intended to move ahead and ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming by next year, even without American participation.

At the summit meeting of top industrial nations, protesters and riot police clashed anew, one day after a protester was killed. Today as many as 50,000 demonstrators flowed through the streets of Genoa, but outside the center of the city, where the leaders were sequestered.

The crowds were far larger than on Friday. The police made efforts to keep their distance, after images raced around the world on Friday of an Italian policeman shooting a demonstrator dead, and then running over his body with a jeep.

In the day's meeting agenda, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada said that his nation had the same position on the global warming treaty "as Japan, as Europe, as Russia: we are ready to ratify."

Other officials suggested that a round of telephone calls among the leaders of Japan, France and Germany this week had left Mr. Bush isolated on the issue.

Mr. Chrétien said negotiators would work overnight to come up with some common language about global warming for a communiqué to be issued Sunday.

But he added that negotiators in Bonn, where a meeting on the subject is under way, would work on details of how the Kyoto accord would be implemented. [Those negotiators moved a step closer to agreement on the final details. Page 14.] Without American participation, though, the treaty would be largely ineffective.

Mr. Chrétien said the Americans had agreed to come up with an alternative proposal to Kyoto, but the Americans said they had not promised a date for delivering that plan.

In the debate on global warming, Mr. Chrétien said Mr. Bush had promised to present an alternative to the specific restrictions of the Kyoto agreement by early fall, a proposal that would presumably sidestep the Kyoto accord's specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to levels Mr. Bush said would cripple the American economy.

Mr. Chrétien said he was still open to hearing the American proposal, but he was not waiting for it. "They claim they will be ready," he told reporters this afternoon. "I will see."

As the leaders politely dealt with their disagreements, the global warming issue did not come up in meetings Mr. Bush held today with President Chirac and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany.

Twenty-four hours after the death of the protester, Mr. Bush spoke about it briefly today, saying, "It's a tragic loss of life." But he insisted that protesters who "claim to represent the voices of the poor aren't doing so. Those protesters who try to shut down our talks on trade and aid don't represent the poor, as far as I'm concerned."

But while Mr. Bush insisted that the leaders should be undeterred by escalating protests at these summit meetings, President Jacques Chirac of France, sitting next to him, offered a different view. "Obviously, we have all been traumatized by the events," he said.

Mr. Chirac, referring to the protests, said: "The elected leaders of our countries have to consider the problems that have brought tens of thousands of our compatriots, mainly from European countries, to demonstrate their concern, to demonstrate their wish to change."

As sporadic scuffles with the police continued into the evening, Mr. Bush and his fellow leaders dined by the port of this ancient city, in an ornate, early 19th-century boat terminal that has been restored, along with much of this city. Even that imagery worried some leaders, who knew that the television images of their toasts would be intermingled with the scenes of rock throwing and tear gassing a mile away.

"We have to find another way," a senior Japanese diplomat said late today. "This is no way to hold a real discussion."

The police, bedecked in an array of riot dress and armed with tear gas and more lethal weaponry, tried to take a lower profile on the streets today as they struggled to contain the largest crowds yet. They were absent entirely from the site of the shooting of the protester, even when a group of young anarchists attacked a Japanese television journalist.

The protesters who turned out on the broad boulevards here were composed of young veterans of the Friday clashes, some with bandaged wounds, union members, smartly dressed groups of citizens from towns all over Europe bearing banners with anti-capitalist slogans in different languages, and black-clad anarchists. Many of the self-described "Black Bloc" wore motorcycle helmets and waved lengths of lumber as truncheons.

The tension ran high between moderate groups who saw the gathering here of leaders from the leading industrial nations as a chance to protest against disparities between the rich and poor, and the anarchists who wanted to act out their rage after the shooting death of one of their supporters.

The plaza where that shooting took place, in front of a large Baroque church, was converted into an informal shrine today, with mounds of flowers and candles, and messages scribbled on paper and T-shirts. "May you have not departed for nothing," said one.

A little more than a mile away, President Bush and the other leaders of the Group of 8 nations held an all- morning review of security challenges in Europe and Asia, before signing a guest book of notables who have come to the home port of Christopher Columbus.

On Sunday, after the formal meetings have concluded, President Bush is to meet with Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, in a session that will conclude with a joint news conference here. The meeting will be their second face-to-face session and they are expected to discuss the Bush administration's plan to pursue a broad missile defense program that will violate the Antiballistic Missile Treaty that the Russians want to preserve.

But for today, the leaders focused on their anti-poverty agenda, mindful of the rocky situation outside. "It is vitally important that democratically elected leaders legitimately representing millions of people can meet to discuss areas of common concern," the group said in a statement. The leaders said they would focus on issues "that matter most to our people," including economy, trade, job creation and, this year more than others, methods for sparking greater productivity in the poorest nations.

But in private, several of Mr. Bush's aides conceded that the imagery of the leaders meeting in the splendor of a 13th century medieval palace, while smoke and tear gas wafted over the hills nearby, seemed only to highlight the gulf between the leaders and the protesters.

The security cordon was so tight that a 15-foot fence around the central city, which demonstrators threatened without success on Friday to breach, was later reinforced. Military units at the airport kept antimissile batteries, which had been installed earlier, at the ready because of fears of a terrorist attack.

The causes represented on the street today included environmental groups like the World Wildlife Fund, Roman Catholic social workers pushing an anti-poverty agenda, pacifists and myriad national groups calling for the liberation of Iran, the liberation of the Kurds in Iraq and greater democracy in Turkey. Labor unionists were in abundance, and signs read "People before profit" and "Stop the capitalist-profit circus."

But the mix of moderate protesters and determined troublemakers served to dilute many of the messages. Some of the moderates clearly held back today, afraid for their physical safety and wary of an association with violent demonstrators whose tactics they say they abhor.

Among them was Luciano Battagli, a 60-year-old retired schoolteacher and regional union leader from Italy. "I myself am not against globalization," Mr. Battagli said. "But I don't like the bosses dictating to the world. The money they spent to do this summit, the ostentatious display of wealth and power, is a shame. They are spending more to do the summit than they are ever going to do for Africa."

Nearby, members of the Black Bloc, helmeted and bearing gardening tools and clearly itching for a fight, carried a banner declaring "Stop G-8" and shouted "bastard" and "assassino" at the police.

A young Welsh protester named Robert, 50, wearing plaid shorts and a yellow T-shirt that said "Drop the Debt," identifying himself as a member of a group calling for more aggressive debt relief for the poorest nations, walked in the march today along the sea coast until clouds of tear gas ahead drove him back. He explained that Drop the Debt organizers had warned members who had been planning to participate in the march about safety concerns after the killing on Friday night. Many chose to hold an ecumenical prayer vigil on a church near the march route instead.

"There is a lot of anguish about the death of that young boy," he said.

Robin Fishwick from Leeds, England, who traveled here on a bus with his wife Sarah, said the chaos of the crowds and the violence has made it "very difficult" to relay their message. "We act peacefully, we get many people together, but they don't make news" because their members do not create trouble.

"Trouble makes the news, but then they don't talk about what we came here for," he said. Rather than marching today, he and other Drop the Debt participants held a vigil and teach-in about the debt problem along the route of the march.

Mr. Bush has countered the protesters by insisting that ever freer trade is the answer to the problems facing developing nations, though never once here has he explored the side effects on countries unable to compete with the richest nations.

"Our discussions here in Europe are centered on some great goals," Mr. Bush said in a radio address broadcast this morning. "We want to spread the benefits of free trade as far and as wide as possible. Free trade is the only proven path out of poverty for developing nations. And when nations are shut off from the world, their people pay a steep price.

"The developing countries have no need for protectionist policies that would condemn them to permanent poverty," Mr. Bush said.

Deep U.S.-Europe Split Casts Long Shadow on Bush Tour

The New York Times, June 14, 2001

GOTEBORG, Sweden, June 14 — President Bush and European leaders expressed sharp differences and conflicting intentions today about global warming at a summit meeting of the European Union and the United States.

It was Mr. Bush's first appearance at a European Union meeting, and his first introduction to several of the leaders, but it was also the second day in a row that he found himself at odds with European officials. On Wednesday, he clashed with leaders of the Atlantic Alliance on his plans for a missile defense shield. And that contentious issue is certain to come up again when he concludes his five- day, five-nation trip on Saturday with a meeting with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.

In today's meetings, the leaders of the European Union seemed intent on starting their relationship on a respectful note, using a studiously cordial tone and carefully measured words.

Even so, Mr. Bush and the Europeans laid bare their split over the wisdom of a 1997 treaty, known as the Kyoto Protocol, to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. At least publicly, European leaders say they will press ahead with the accord, while Mr. Bush remains firmly opposed to it.

As leaders on each side defended their positions today, the statements underscored tensions in the relationship between the United States and Europe and European leaders' fears that Mr. Bush was marching resolutely to his own drummer as he dealt with foreign policy issues of common concern.

"We don't agree on the Kyoto treaty," Mr. Bush bluntly stated at a news conference here after talks with Prime Minister Goran Persson of Sweden and the president of the European Commission , Romano Prodi. "But we do agree that climate change is a serious issue and we must work together."

Later Mr. Bush added, "I say loud and clear that our nation is willing to lead on this issue." Nonetheless, he said, "We didn't feel like the Kyoto treaty was well balanced. It didn't include developing nations. Its goals were not realistic."

Mr. Persson and Mr. Prodi, speaking at the same news conference, offered dissenting assessments.

"The European Union will stick to the Kyoto Protocol and go for a ratification process," Mr. Persson said. "The U.S. has chosen another policy."

In what came across as a gentle rebuke of Mr. Bush, Mr. Persson added that "climate change is not isolated" to Europe and is a global threat. "So, nevertheless, if you are in favor or against the Kyoto Protocol, you have to take action," he said.

The Kyoto accord would require industrialized nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases below 1990 levels, a year that the Bush administration has said was chosen to make achieving compliance easier for certain European countries than for the United States.

Neither the United States nor any country in the European Union subsequently ratified the treaty, and administration officials said that was in part because some European governments, despite statements of support designed to please voters with environmental concerns, had their own reservations.

When Mr. Bush and Mr. Prodi were asked why European countries had not moved faster, Mr. Bush said, "I think that's a good question." And there was a hint of disbelief on the president's face when Mr. Prodi subsequently said that every country would indeed ratify and that the "process will start soon."

The divergence over Kyoto is just one symbol of various issues on which European leaders believe that the Bush administration is not sensitive to their concerns. And it was not the only way in which the third day of Mr. Bush's first overseas trip was a tough one.

Mr. Bush seemed muted during the news conference and gave several erroneous, unclear or unwelcome characterizations of the issues he was addressing.

He said at one point during the news conference that "Europe ought to include nations beyond the current scope of E.U. and NATO" and that "my vision of Europe is a larger vision" that included "more countries."

He appeared to be advocating expansion of the European Union, which was to be discussed by the 15 member nations on Friday and Saturday. And his remarks prompted a stern response from Chris Patten, the union's external affairs commissioner, who said pointedly, "The United States is not a member of the European Union."

Mr. Bush, turning his attention to another continent, told reporters, "We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, and we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease."

Mr. Bush had unwaveringly stated his opposition to the Kyoto agreement before he left Washington earlier this week for his first overseas trip as president, which will continue in Poland on Friday and conclude in Slovenia on Saturday when he meets Mr. Putin.

During that meeting, Mr. Bush is certain to debate another issue that has already been a contentious one during his European trip — his desire to abandon the ABM Treaty between Moscow and Washington.

The Bush administration's position is that it wants to work to cut emissions by leading the world in the research and development of technologies that will combat global warming without hurting American industries and the country's economy.

While the European dissatisfaction with that was stated in relatively polite terms today by Mr. Persson and Mr. Prodi, it is seriously felt, and administration officials acknowledged that it was a more divisive disagreement than the one over the missile treaty.

And the nature and depth of the suspicion among some Europeans feel toward Mr. Bush — a sentiment that other new American presidents have also faced — was suggested by a statement by Mr. Persson to antiglobalization protesters on Wednesday, before Mr. Bush arrived here.

Referring to the European Union, Mr. Persson said, "It's one of the few institutions we can develop as a balance to U.S. world domination."

Climate Divisive at Trans-Atlantic Summit

GOTHENBORG, Sweden, June 14, 2001 (ENS) - Leaders of the European Union and U.S. President George W. Bush did not bridge the wide gap between their positions on global warming and climate change during a one day summit meeting today. While thousands protested in the streets, the leaders agreed to disagree about limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Discussions during the summit focused primarily on four subjects: the climate issue, trade, the Middle East, and the Western Balkans.

As expected, no agreement was reached on the climate issue at the summit. Both sides reaffirmed their previous statements regarding the Kyoto Protocol, a greenhouse gas limitation treaty that the United States has signed, but now refuses to ratify.

A joint U.S./EU declaration issued late today called the climate issue and the disagreement on the Kyoto Protocol one of the most complicated items on the summit agenda. But both sides said, it is the means, not the ends, on which the USA and the EU disagree when it comes to the Kyoto Protocol.

"We are agreed that this is an important issue and that we must cooperate," said President Bush. "But we do not agree that implementation of the Kyoto Protocol is the best way to achieve results. We have to find new channels of cooperation."

Host Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson said, "The EU will stick to the Kyoto Protocol and go for ratification." On the differing stances of the European Union and the United States, he said, "We agreed to disagree on substance."

It was agreed that a group of personal representatives from both sides would be established to continue discussions on the climate issue "in a constructive and flexible manner."

The positions of both sides on the issue have been known for a long time, the declaration said. The European Union has been sharply critical of the U.S. decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol - an international agreement that was negotiated over a 10 year period - and maintained that, nevertheless, it intends to continue towards the objective of ratifying the protocol next year.

The United States, for its part, has stated that the country cannot adhere to an agreement that would damage the U.S. economy and which, in addition, does not place the same demands on the developing countries to reduce their emissions.

The atmosphere of the closed door meetings was described as "very cordial," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

"People talked about the common responsibilities. The President talked about how we must be together, we must always work together, even when we disagree, and we'll always do so in an atmosphere of cooperation. It's been - yesterday and today, both, Spain as well - marked by the friendliness of the reception the President received, and the friendliness with which all the meetings were conducted," Fleischer told reporters.

WWF, the conservation organization, commended European leaders for their commitment today to proceed with finalizing the Kyoto climate treaty even though the United States will not be participating. The next stage of climate negotiations to work out the exact rules for limiting six greenhouse gases will begin next month in Bonn, Germany.

"WWF is delighted that the EU did not blink," said Andrew Kerr, public affairs manager of WWF's Climate Change Campaign. "We wait to see this in black and white in the final European Council conclusions. Europe has today given a major new impetus to international efforts against global warming and has significantly increased the chances of the Kyoto agreement being finalized at July's global climate summit."

After the joint U.S./EU statement in Gothenburg today, Kate Hampton, Friends of the Earth International's Climate Change coordinator said the United States is acting selfishly and the rest of the world will suffer. "President Bush's decision to ignore scientific warnings and world opinion on global climate change is a total disgrace. It means business as usual for the planet's biggest polluter. The rest of the world will pay the price for the United States' selfish actions.

"If the U.S. is not prepared to join the global fight against climate change it should keep away from next month's international talks on climate in Germany," Hampton said.

European governments must work with Japan, Russia and other allies to ensure the Kyoto Protocol is ratified as soon as possible, climate change campaigners said.

Thousands of people in the streets of Gothenborg are protesting the Bush climate stance in the face of police repression which protesters say is an attempt to criminalize dissent, through repression and violence.

"The police are attempting to label us as terrorists," one group said, "but we are simply attempting to exercise our political rights, and seeking to build alternatives to the current genocidal capitalist world system. We are not armed, but actively exert the right to protecting our bodies and property from police attacks."

Police repeatedly attacked withdrawing protestors outside the convergence center, using dogs to drive them from the area. They were able to leave without identifying themselves, but they had to allow the police to search their belongings.

Many of the protesters were focused on the European Union's environmental policies, rather than those of the United States.

GBG2001-For a Different Europe is a network of more than 80 organizations in Sweden, the Nordic countries and other parts of Europe. "Our goal is to mobilize people in Europe to develop an alternative to the current trend," the group said in a statement before its Counter Summit protest which opened last night.

"A change of course is needed in a world with expanding gaps between and within countries and increasing environmental destruction, where economic growth on terms set by powerful corporations has become more important than social and environmental values," said GBG2001 spokesman Tord Björk.

"We demand democracy, a sound environment and solidarity. And we see that economic globalization and the European Union threatens these values," GBG2001 said.

The official view of the European Union summit continuing Friday and Saturday in Gothenborg is that issues of environment and sustainable development will have priority.

Sustainable development is about planning for the future, the Swedish Presidency said. It is about integrating environmental considerations into all parts of society.

Nine European Council official working groups are now incorporating an environmental perspective into their activities. These include the Councils on Energy, Transport, Agriculture, Internal Market, Industry, Development Cooperation, Fisheries and Finance (Ecofin), according to the Swedish Presidency

Within these areas, strategies are being drawn up on how to integrate environmental considerations in order to achieve sustainable development. A progress check will be made at the summit in Gothenborg.

The European Commission will draw up a proposal for an EU strategy for economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development. The EU heads of state and government are expected to adopt an overall strategy and guidelines for sustainable development in Gothenborg.