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The BBC's Mike Donkin
"All the major players in the climate change debate are in town"
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John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister
"I'm very satisfied that the Americans are participating in these discussions"
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Wednesday, 18 April, 2001, 23:19 GMT 00:19 UK
US urged not to block Kyoto
Oil industry plants along the Mississippi river in New Orleans
The US produces 25% of greenhouse emissions
The head of the United Nations negotiations on climate change has urged the United States not to block the Kyoto agreement to reduce global warming.

'Kyoto is dead' is not uttered any more. It was a premature statement

Jan Pronk
Jan Pronk, who is also the Dutch environment minister, said that, even without US participation, the treaty could be implemented if 55 countries ratify it.

Last month, US President George W Bush rejected the Kyoto agreement, declaring the plan dead since its targets for cutting emissions would harm the US economy.

But Mr Pronk said that the Bush administration had now toned down its criticism of the treaty and no longer considered it dead.

"'Kyoto is dead' is not uttered any more. It was a premature statement," he said.

However, European Union negotiator Kjell Larsson said that he was not hopeful of persuading the US to rejoin the process.

Both men were speaking as environment ministers from around the world gathered at the UN headquarters in New York for talks on sustainable development.

'Concrete discussions'

BBC correspondent Mike Donkin says that everyone is agreed on the urgency of salvaging a deal from the wreckage left by Mr Bush's declaration.

George W Bush
Bush: Kyoto targets will harm US economy
"We would like the United States to come back to the process," Mr Larsson said.

"We would very much like to go into concrete, substantive discussions on the real problems that the United States seem to have with the Kyoto protocol."

That is what he and other ministers will be urging at the UN this week.

But there has been no comment at all from the Bush administration yet.

To have force of law, the accord must be ratified by 55 countries that produce 55% of global greenhouse emissions, which many scientists believe contribute to climate change.

The US produces 25% of the world's greenhouse emissions.

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See also:

16 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Greens urge US oil boycott
16 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Prescott pressures US on climate treaty
15 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia gives up on Kyoto
13 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Blair urged to tackle Bush over Kyoto
25 Nov 00 | Sci/Tech
Analysis: What next?
28 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
US blow to Kyoto hopes
30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
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