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Saturday, 7 April, 2001, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
EU ready to renegotiate Kyoto
Florida celebration of Earth Day, April 1999
Kyoto commits industrialised countries to cut 'greenhouse gases'
The European Union has said it is willing to renegotiate parts of the Kyoto protocol on global warming to accommodate the United States.

European Commission president Romano Prodi and Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said it would be a "tragic mistake" to tear up the agreement and start from scratch.

Top CO2 polluters
US
China
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Japan
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Germany
President George W Bush announced last month that he was not prepared to ratify the treaty because it could have a negative effect on the US economy.

On Friday, a senior American official indicated to a visiting Japanese government delegation that Washington would propose an alternative plan.

"If certain parts of the agreement prevent the United States from ratifying it, we should negotiate about those parts rather than bury the entire agreement," wrote Mr Prodi and Mr Persson in a joint article in the Swedish regional daily newspaper Goteborgs-Posten.

"In our opinion, it would be a tragic mistake to tear up the agreement and start over from scratch. We would lose time, and that would make us all losers," the pair wrote.

They stressed that the EU remains committed to Kyoto and will ratify the agreement with or without Washington.

World reaction

The decision by the US to abandon the treaty provoked angry reactions across the world.

A Japanese government delegation travelled to Washington to urge the United States to remain committed to the Kyoto agreement.

According to Japanese media, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage outlined the new US proposals at a meeting with the delegation on Friday.

Japan's Kyodo news agency reported that the US substitute plan would differ from Kyoto by seeking the participation of developing nations.

Mr Armitage said Washington would come up with the new framework in time for an international conference on global warming to be held in Bonn in July.

EU push

The 1997 Kyoto protocol calls on industrialised nations to reduce their emissions of so-called greenhouse gasses.

US President George W Bush
President Bush stunned the world by pulling out of the accord
A delegation from the European Union is heading to Beijing after visiting Tehran in continuing efforts to rescue the Kyoto agreement.

Belgian officials described the meeting with officials in Iran, which heads a grouping of 133 developing countries, as encouraging.

The delegation earlier visited Moscow, where it said it had received assurances that Russia remained committed to Kyoto.

Environment ministers from Japan, China and South Korea are meeting this weekend in Tokyo to discuss measures to protect the environment in north-eastern Asia.

The ministers are expected to reaffirm their commitment to the Kyoto protocol.

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Is the US right to ditch the deal?Global warming
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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