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The BBC's Jon Sopel
"France on a range of issues has a traditionally prickly relationship with the United States"
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The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Washington
"The Swedish environment minister insisted that Kyoto would be ratified"
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Ralph Nader
former Green Party presidential candidate
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Tuesday, 3 April, 2001, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
EU defends Kyoto accord
Florida celebration of Earth Day, April 1999
Mr Bush does not seem to be listening to green campaigners
A European Union delegation has said the EU will press ahead with the Kyoto climate change accord, even if the United States will not.

"We cannot allow one country to kill the process," Sweden's Environment Minister Kjell Larsson told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.

He is in the US as part of an EU effort to persuade the Bush administration to support the Kyoto accord, which is designed to combat climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem and Swedish Environment Minister Kjell Larsson (right)
The Europeans appeared determined, not despondent
President George W Bush has signalled his opposition to the 1997 treaty, saying it would harm US economic interests.

Our correspondent in Washington, Jonny Dymond, says the European delegation projected an air of determination rather than anger or despondency in Washington on Tuesday.

He said it would be difficult to ratify the Kyoto treaty without US support.

Cold shoulder

On Monday the EU delegation was left out in the cold when Bob Smith, head of the Senate's environmental committee, cancelled a planned meeting because it conflicted with the Senate vote on campaign finance reform.

And on Tuesday, the delegation met with relatively low-level officials.

They also met Christine Whitman, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency. But recent events suggest Ms Whitman is not calling the shots when it comes to Washington's environmental policy.

One EU official said he got the feeling that the US administration did not give a damn about climate change.

EPA Administrator Christine Whitman
Ms Whitman has been overruled on US policy
The Kyoto treaty would require industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to roughly 5% below 1990 levels by 2012.

Because the US is the world's largest producer of such gases, the Kyoto targets would require extensive action by it. US emissions are now 15% above 1990 levels.

Mr Bush argues that a global-warming programme must encompass developing countries as well as industrialised ones.

The EU delegation said he was wrong to imply that developing countries were not involved in the protocol.

No ratification

No country has yet ratified the Kyoto treaty, although a number, including the US, have signed it.

The United Nations said on Monday it would call an informal meeting of environment ministers in April to help prepare for a new round of climate change negotiations scheduled for July.

Also on Monday, a group of 10 prominent figures addressed an open letter to Mr Bush urging him to take climate change seriously.

US President George W Bush
Mr Bush was sent an open letter about climate change
"No challenge we face is more momentous than the threat of global climate change," the letter, which appeared in Time magazine, says.

The letter signers include former US and Soviet leaders Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev, financier George Soros, physicist Stephen Hawking and actor Harrison Ford.

Time also published a poll on Monday showing that 75% of Americans see global warming as a serious problem and 67% say Mr Bush should work towards a plan to deal with the problem.

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Is the US right to ditch the Kyoto deal?
See also:

31 Mar 01 | Europe
Europe backs Kyoto accord
30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
29 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
US facing climate isolation
28 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
Anger as US abandons Kyoto
22 Jan 01 | Sci/Tech
Global warming 'not clear cut'
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