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Margot Wallstrom, EU Environment Commissioner
"We will have to continue to keep the pressure up on the United States"
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Friday, 6 April, 2001, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
EU seeks Moscow backing on climate
US President George W Bush
George Bush "must not dictate global policy" says EU
A European Union mission visits Moscow on Friday in the first of a series of international talks aimed at building a firm alliance of countries committed to implementing the Kyoto climate change treaty.

Members of the EU mission were told by the United States earlier this week that the protocol was effectively dead.

EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom
Margot Wallstrom: Keeping up the pressure

The 1997 treaty is designed to combat climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

President George W Bush said the US would not ratify it, arguing that it would harm economic interests.

The European Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallstrom, said it was important that the 179 other countries that have signed up do not allow Washington to dictate international policy.

However, she told the BBC's Angus Roxburgh that the United States could not be sidelined from future climate change talks.

"In creating an international framework they will have to come back in one way or another."

Moscow crucial

Russia is the world's biggest polluter after the US and so its continued commitment to the Kyoto treaty is crucial.

President Bush's rejection is a blow to Russia, which had been hoping to trade greenhouse gas emission rights worth billions of dollars.

But the Russian Energy Ministry can still trade emission rights with EU partners under a scheme called "joint implementation", which allows rich nations to make energy efficiency improvements in other countries if it is cheaper than doing it at home.

Pollution spews out from Russian factories
Pollution spews out from Russian factories

After Moscow, the EU delegation heads for Iran, which represents developing countries at the climate-change talks, the next round of which are due to be held in Germany in July.

It will also visit China and Japan, both of which have vigorously condemned the new US policy.

Kyoto commitments

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 Washington.

US emissions are now 15% above 1990 levels.

Though many countries, includng the US, have signed the Kyoto treaty, none has yet ratified it.

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See also:

03 Apr 01 | Americas
EU defends Kyoto accord
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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