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The BBC's Jim Fish
"The welcome at [Bush's] next stop should be much smoother"
 real 56k

The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan
"Jan Pronk regards his new proposal as balanced and open"
 real 28k

James Steinburg, Security Advisor to Clinton
"[Bush] seems to accept that climate change is a reality"
 real 56k

Professor Alan Thorpe, British Meteorological Office
"We need to understand better the consequences of what we are doing to the atmosphere"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 01:34 GMT 02:34 UK
UN bid to salvage Kyoto
climate
A new round of global climate talks start next month
By Geraldine Coughlan in The Hague

Dutch Environment Minister, Jan Pronk, who heads the United Nations forum on climate change, has presented a compromise proposal in an effort to rescue the Kyoto protocol aimed at curbing global warming.

bush
George W Bush: "We recognise our responsibility to reduce our emissions"
US President George W Bush has said the US will not implement the treaty, arguing it will harm the American economy.

Mr Bush is particularly concerned about the treaty's plan to reduce air pollution emissions by an average of 5% from 1990 levels over the next decade.

Mr Pronk's plan allows for more flexibility on the issue of "sinks" - the use of forests and vegetation to soak up so-called greenhouse gas emissions, which many scientists claim cause global warming.


Some countries have a greater responsibility than others

Jan Pronk
Other major recommendations include contributions by developing nations towards meeting global pollution reductions targets and new funding to help those countries adapt to climate change.

But he disputed Bush's charge that the Kyoto treaty unfairly exempted developing countries.

Stumbling block

"Some countries have a greater responsibility than others," he said.

Washington's rejection of the Kyoto agreement, though, is still a major stumbling block.

Jan Pronk regards his new proposal as balanced and open to American interests but he does not expect the US to back the Kyoto treaty at the new round of global climate negotiations in Bonn next month.

What he is hoping for is that these talks will encourage the world's biggest polluter to ratify the agreement later, but ahead of the deadline for ratification in one year's time.

Co-operation

Mr Bush on Monday said 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 singled out China - the second largest polluter - and India.

"We recognise our responsibility to reduce our emissions," Mr Bush said. "We also recognise 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."

Climate change is expected to be one of the major issues when Mr Bush begins his first tour of Europe on Tuesday.

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See also:

11 Jun 01 | Europe
Bush faces EU challenge
11 Jun 01 | Americas
Bush faces up to Kyoto critics
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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