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The BBC's Richard Lister
"President Bush wants to strengthen the alliance with Europe"
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The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan
" Jan Pronk regards his new proposal as balanced and open"
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Former British Ambassador to UN, Sir Crispin Tickell
"I think the statistics on which this is based are highly questionable "
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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK
Bush faces up to Kyoto critics
Cooling towers at power stations
Kyoto seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions
US President George W Bush has vowed to pursue scientific and diplomatic solutions to global warming, in an attempt to blunt international criticism of his rejection of the Kyoto climate treaty.

Mr Bush was speaking only hours before he was due to leave on his first presidential visit to Europe.

Many European leaders have criticised his rejection of the Kyoto treaty, which obligates industrial nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, produced by burning fossil fuels and thought to cause global warming.

US President George W Bush
Bush is likely to receive a cool reception from EU members
But Mr Bush said his rejection of the Kyoto treaty "should not be read by our friends and allies as any abdication of responsibility".

In a statement, Mr Bush said the United States realised its responsibilities to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, but at the same time believed the 1997 Kyoto agreement was "fatally flawed".

Although the US was the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, countries from the developing world - which were exempted under Kyoto - also bore heavy responsibility, he insisted.

Co-operation

He singled out China - the second largest polluter - and India.

"We recognize our responsibility to reduce our emissions," Mr Bush said. "We also recognize the other part of the story - that the rest of the world emits 80% of all greenhouse gases and many of those emissions are from developing countries."

Mr Bush added: "Even with the best science, even with the best technology, we all know the United States cannot solve this global problem alone.

"We want to work co-operatively with these countries in their efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions and maintain economic growth."

'Not exempt'

But Tom Burke a visiting professor at Imperial College, London and a former special advisor to the UK Secretary of State for the Environment, says that it is not true that China and India are "entirely exempted from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol".

Traffic jam in San Francisco
The White House has previously said that Americans need not change their lifestyles

"It is simply wrong to say that the Kyoto Protocol does not include the developing countries... they were also required to try and reduce their emissions," he said

"Indeed China has made significant cuts in recent years, actually greater than those the US would be required to make under the Protocol," he added.

Mr Bush said the United States would create a climate change research initiative, help establish climate observation stations in developing countries and work with the European Union and Japan on more sophisticated computer modelling of climate change.

Easing tension

BBC environment correspondent Richard Lister described the speech as "defiant", because Mr Bush also made it clear that the growth of the US economy remained his main priority.

Mr Bush hopes to ease the tension with European nations by agreeing that global warming is a problem - even if his solution lacks the regulatory teeth of the Kyoto protocol.

The EU has pledged to ratify the Kyoto treaty, despite Mr Bush's rejection of it.

"The EU is convinced that ratification of the Kyoto protocol is the best possible solution," said European Commission President Romano Prodi.

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See also:

11 Jun 01 | Sci/Tech
Bush and EU seek climate concord
19 Apr 01 | Americas
Bush to sign pollutants treaty
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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