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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Dutch host bid to save Kyoto
climate
The Dutch have suggested a compromise on the treaty
By Geraldine Coughlan in The Hague

Renewed efforts to salvage the Kyoto climate treaty have got under way in The Hague.

The 1997 treaty aims to reduce pollution levels in industrialised countries over the next decade, but the United States is refusing to back it.

Four days of talks will be hosted by the Dutch Environment Minister, Jan Pronk, who heads the UN forum on climate change.

Representatives from 110 countries, including the US, will prepare for next month's round of global climate negotiations in Bonn.

bush
US President George W Bush says the treaty is flawed and unfair
Mr Pronk is expecting tough negotiations in Bonn, but at these preparatory talks he is aiming at an agreement between the key players on a recent compromise proposal.

The Americans regard the Kyoto treaty as harmful to the US economy, and claim that it unfairly exempts developing countries.

But the new proposal commits these countries to contribute to global reductions in so-called greenhouse gas emissions, through funding from rich nations.

Fifty-five countries need to ratify the Kyoto treaty if it is to come into effect in a year's time.

Tree-planting

The EU is going ahead with ratification, and Russia is expected to follow suit, after agreeing to trade carbon dioxide emissions with the Netherlands.

But support from Japan, where the Kyoto protocol was signed, is crucial if it is to succeed.

The new proposal allows Japan to use more tree-planting to soak up its greenhouse gases.

Mr Pronk hopes that this concession will set the stage for the Japanese to back the treaty in Bonn, and encourage the world's biggest polluter, the US, to do the same, before the ratification deadline next year.

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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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