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The BBC's Richard Bilton
"Many countries felt let down"
 real 56k

Sunday, 22 April, 2001, 05:28 GMT 06:28 UK
EU presses on with Kyoto
Power station towers
Kyoto set targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions
By environment correspondent Robert Pigott

The European Union says it will ratify the Kyoto treaty on climate change, even if the United States carries out its threat to pull out of the process.

The meeting was part of a desperate effort to keep the Kyoto treaty alive

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The statement came at an emergency meeting in New York, where 40 world environment ministers gathered to discuss the future of the Kyoto protocol.

Under the treaty, industrialised countries agreed to cut their production of the gases that are thought to be causing global warming.

The meeting agreed a series of compromise proposals to the US, and the UN negotiator on climate change, Jan Pronk, said he was now more optimistic that the Kyoto treaty could be preserved.

Desperate effort

He said the world had no alternative but to try to implement the treaty, with or without the co-operation of the world's biggest polluter.

George W Bush
Bush: Kyoto targets will harm US economy
The meeting was part of a desperate effort to keep the Kyoto treaty alive.

Documents leaked from the State Department said the US opposed the treaty under any circumstances.

America would have to reduce its production of carbon dioxide and the other gases that cause global warming by an estimated 30% by 2012.

President Bush says that would do too much harm to the American economy.

Part of the compromise package worked out in New York would allow the US to count the carbon dioxide soaked up by existing forests towards its target under the treaty. American could also plant new forests in other countries.

Poorer countries

The treaty excuses developing countries such as India and China from making cuts in greenhouse gases.

Kuala Lumpur
Third world emissions are rising fast
The US say they should take part. However even the compromise package now on offer would continue to exclude poorer countries from the first round of cuts.

The European Union says it will ratify the agreement, but other nations believe a treaty without the world's biggest polluter will do little to slow down changes in the world's climate.

America says it will go to the next climate change negotiations in Bonn in July with its own proposals but there is no guarantee that they will break the deadlock.

The Kyoto Protocol took almost a decade to achieve. If action to tackle greenhouse gas emissions is suspended while the whole thing is renegotiated, the damage to the Earth's atmosphere could be considerable.

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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?
18 Apr 01 | Americas
US urged not to block Kyoto
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