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The BBC's Brian Hanrahan
"It may be that the US will have to pay a heavy economic and diplomatic price"
 real 56k

Chancellor Schroeder's spokesman Michael Steiner
"I have seldom seen meetings where a disagreement has been made so clear"
 real 28k

Sunita Narain, Indian Science and Environment Centre
"This is typical posturing of a bully"
 real 28k

Charlie Coon, the Heritage Foundation
"The President stated throughout his campaign he did not support the Kyoto treaty"
 real 28k

Thursday, 29 March, 2001, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
German concern over US climate policy
Schroeder and Bush AFP
Smiles - but the two men disagreed over climate policy
The German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, has expressed concern to President Bush about the American decision not to implement the 1997 Kyoto treaty on global warming.

Mr Schroeder, who was making a one-day visit to Washington, said he and Mr Bush had agreed on most things apart from Kyoto.

We agreed on practically everything except for one thing and that was no surprise to you - the Kyoto protocol

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, speaking in the White House
France had earlier described the American decision as scandalous. A high-level delegation from the European Union is to travel to Washington next week.

But at a news conference with the German leader, Mr Bush made clear that he was not going to change his mind. He said he would not sign up to any agreement that could hurt the US economy.

The American people had to come first, he said.

But both leaders said their countries would work together on new technologies to help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide which are believed by some scientists to be causing a rapid change in the global climate.

Energy shortages

Mr Bush said he was concerned about energy shortages and would not do anything to harm his country's economy. His statement followed angry condemnation of his decision on Kyoto by governments and environmentalists around the world.

The 1997 agreement was signed by the Clinton administration, European Union member states and Japan, but Mr Bush does not support it and is calling for a cabinet review of climate change policy.

Click here to see the world's biggest carbon dioxide "polluters"

The Swedish Government, which currently holds the European Union presidency, described the move as appalling and provocative.

EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem warned the US not to treat the issue lightly.

"I think we all have to make absolutely clear to the United States that this is not an issue which can be regarded as some kind of marginal environmental issue," she said.

The UK described Mr Bush's decision as exceptionally serious.

"There is no serious possibility of negotiating an acceptable alternative," said British Environment Minister Michael Meacher.

Kyoto commitments

On Wednesday, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer made it clear that Mr Bush would not now submit the treaty for ratification by the US Senate.

So far, no major European nation has ratified the treaty either, but EU states believe it is the best framework for tackling climate change.

Margot Wallstroem AP
Wallstroem has warned against marginalising environmental issues
The Kyoto Protocol commits 38 industrialised nations to cut their emissions of the main gases produced by human activities, which are blamed for climate change.

By 2012, they would have to cut emissions by an average of 5.2% on their 1990 levels, and the US by 7%.

The US is responsible for about 25% of global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main gas covered by Kyoto. It argues that this is not unreasonable, as it produces more wealth than any other country.

The US objects to the protocol on the grounds that it concentrates on emissions from industrialised countries, and refuses at this stage to seek to limit emissions from developing nations.

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Is the US right to ditch the Kyoto deal?
See also:

30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
29 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
US facing climate isolation
24 Feb 01 | Sci/Tech
'Odds against' a climate deal
22 Jan 01 | Sci/Tech
Global warming 'not clear cut'
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