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Friday, 13 April, 2001, 06:09 GMT 07:09 UK
Blair urged to tackle Bush over Kyoto
The Kyoto protocol aimed to cut greenhouse gases
Senior government ministers are urging Tony Blair to confront US President George W Bush over his rejection of the Kyoto agreement on climate change, it is reported.

The Times newspaper says that the prime minister has come under pressure to cool relations with the US because of Mr Bush's plans not to put the international treaty in place.

It reports that the deputy prime minister John Prescott is leading calls for a hard-line stance.

Mr Bush announced last month that he was not prepared to ratify the treaty because it could have a negative effect on the US economy.

US President George W Bush
UK 'should cool relations with President Bush'
Mr Prescott reportedly wants threats to end co-operation on world trade, national missile defence and even British support for the US stand against China.

There has been widespread European outrage at Mr Bush's decision to turn his back on the Kyoto agreements aimed at ending global warming.

And Mr Prescott apparently heads a squad of senior ministers who believe Mr Blair had been too soft with the new American president.

The report comes after the deputy prime minister launched a public attack of Mr Bush's decision on Kyoto last week.

Emission cuts

His anger is said to be shared by international development secretary Clare Short and, to a lesser extent, foreign secretary Robin Cook.

Kyoto's first stage envisages average emission cuts of 5.2% on their 1990 levels by 39 industrialised countries. The US would have had to make cuts of 7%.

The treaty will come into effect when 55% of industrialised nations, responsible for 55% of the group's emissions, have ratified it.

And there is growing pressure among the protocol's supporters to ratify it with or without the US.

The British environment minister Michael Meacher believes that the European Union should still move to ratify the treaty by 2002.

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See also:

09 Apr 01 | Music
Sting slates Bush over Kyoto
30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
29 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
US facing climate isolation
31 Mar 01 | Europe
Europe backs Kyoto accord
28 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
Anger as US abandons Kyoto
22 Jan 01 | Sci/Tech
Global warming 'not clear cut'
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