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Last Updated: Monday, 4 July, 2005, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Straw positive on climate change
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Jack Straw said the US stance on climate change was well known
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said he believes there will be a "satisfactory outcome" on the issue of climate change at the G8 summit.

His optimism comes despite comments by US President George W Bush which seem to rule out any Kyoto-style agreement.

Mr Straw said US opposition to the UN's 1997 Kyoto deal on carbon emissions was long-standing and would not jeopardise the success of this week's summit.

Tony Blair has put climate change and Africa top of the agenda for the talks.

'No surprise'

The UK government has played down claims of a rift with the US, saying the US and Europe can work together to tackle climate change despite differences of approach.

Speaking to British broadcaster ITV, Mr Bush said he hoped the other G8 leaders would "move beyond the Kyoto debate" and consider new technologies.

CLIMATE CHANGE

He did however acknowledge that human activity was "to some extent" to blame for global warming.

Mr Straw, speaking at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, said the US government's decision not to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol was well known.

It was therefore "no surprise" to hear Mr Bush restating that position, Mr Straw said.

"That does not however mean that the result of the G8 summit later this week will be unsatisfactory and I believe that there will be a satisfactory outcome both in respect to aid to Africa and in respect of climate change," he went on.

Mr Fischer said his country had signed up to Kyoto but that the US position was different. He did however trust in the "wisdom" of the UK's G8 presidency to achieve a step forward.

We are in a precarious situation
Dr Rajendra Pachauri
UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
UK Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett earlier told the BBC the summit's aim was to secure a general agreement rather than concentrating on an "exact theology" of climate change issues.

At the same time, a leading environmental scientist has warned the world does not currently have the political capacity to stop global warming destroying the planet.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, denied he was exaggerating the risk.

"I've seen the rate at which our glaciers are melting, I've seen the kind of threat that some of the small island states have," he told the BBC's Today programme.

"One has seen the loss of biodiversity and all kinds of destruction taking place in the natural resources of this earth.

President Bush
President George Bush says new technologies are the way forward

"And therefore I am saying this with all the responsibility that I can possibly muster, that we are in a precarious situation."

He said an "upswell of public opinion" was needed to force the world's leaders to take the political action necessary to avert disaster.

Dr Pachauri also warned the developed world against placing all the burden for change on developing countries such as India and China.

He urged developed countries and developing countries to do more to transfer technology or set up joint development programmes to tackle global warming.

The G8 leaders - from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US - meet in Gleneagles on Wednesday for the start of the three-day summit.




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