The Heat Is Online

US to World: No Greenhouse Cuts

US sticks to divisive climate change policy: official

Agence France-Presse, Dec. 6, 2007

The United States delegation at a UN climate change summit said Thursday they would not commit to deep greenhouse gas emissions cuts at the key meeting in Indonesia, despite growing pressure.

Harlan Watson, head of the US delegation, said that neither a recent US Senate committee move to limit greenhouse gas emissions or the decision by Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol would influence their stance.

"We're not changing our position," he said on the fourth day of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Bali.

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol on Monday after being sworn in as leader last month, leaving the United States as the only rich nation that is not party to the 1997 climate change-tackling pact.

On Wednesday, an Australian delegate said they supported the outcome of a meeting of Kyoto nations in August that recommended greenhouse gas emissions cuts for developed nations of 25 to 40 percent by 2020, although Rudd on Thursday stressed that his government did not support binding targets.

The European Union has also called on industrialised nations to recognise their responsibility for global warming and support deep emissions cuts.

Watson said the US was hoping to come up with their own set of figures on cuts when a meeting of 17 nations that are major emitters of greenhouse gases, organised by US President George Bush, takes place next year.

"We're not trying to detract from the United Nations process," he added.

Delegates from nearly 190 nations are gathered in Bali to try and draw up a roadmap of negotiations leading to a new plan to tackle global warming when the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Ahead of the meeting, Bush reiterated that his administration was opposed to any international constraints on curbing carbon emissions if it undermined economic growth.

Angela Anderson, of the US-based National Environment Trust, said however that US interventions at the Bali summit had so far been mostly constructive.

"We're not seeing overly obstructive behaviour by the US, and we hope that trend continues," she told AFP.