Bush’s climate plan ‘the classic US line’: EU
* Green groups accuse US of derailing talks over climate change
BRUSSELS: President George W Bush’s plan to tackle climate change merely restates US policy which has been ineffective in the past in cutting emissions blamed for global warming, the EU’s environment chief said on Friday.
“The declaration by President Bush basically restates the US classic line on climate change - no mandatory reductions, no carbon trading and vaguely expressed objectives,” EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said, according to his spokeswoman.
“The US approach has proven to be ineffective in reducing emissions,” Dimas added of Bush’s call on Thursday for 15 major countries to agree by 2008 on a long-term goal for cutting emissions.
European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had emphasised that Bush’s announcement did at least create more opportunities for dialogue, he said, adding that there was growing bipartisan support within the United States for a cap-and-trade system.
“Mandatory reductions, carbon trading and specific commitment and timetables have allowed the EU to reduce its emissions by 1.5 percent in 2005 under the 1990 levels, while the US has increased them by more than 16 percent in the same period,” Dimas had said.
He expected a “tight and lively European trading market to continue beyond 2012”, Dimas’ spokeswoman quoted him as saying.
Green groups : Environmental campaigners accused US President George W Bush on Friday of attempting to “derail” negotiations over tackling climate change ahead of a G8 summit next week.
Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Greenpeace expressed strong disappointment at Bush’s annoucement, saying the effect of his move would be to “wreck” the existing process.
FoE director Tony Juniper accused Bush of “a transparent attempt to derail negotiations that are already going on in the G8 and the United Nations.”
“If the president wishes to be taken seriously on the subject of climate change, he needs to arrive in Germany next week with a willingness to negotiate rather than a determination to wreck talks which are already going on,” he added.
Meanwhile, a Greenpeace spokesman said he had attempted a “late night mugging” on the Kyoto protocol, which imposes limits on greenhouse gas emissions and which the United States has not ratified.
“When it comes to environmental destruction, George Bush is in a presidential league of his own,” he said. “To now claim that he is a leading steward of the environment shows how deeply unserious this man is.
“It is unbelievable that Tony Blair could possibly take this new announcement seriously.”
Blair said on Thursday that Washington’s formal recognition of climate change was “a huge step forward” from the position even a few years ago. afp