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Sunday, 1 September, 2002, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Blair issues global warming challenge
Tony Blair meets local people in a Mozambique village
Tony Blair is spending three days in Africa
Tony Blair is urging world leaders to do much more to tackle global warming.

The UK prime minister told an audience in Mozambique that the world needed to go beyond the Kyoto agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

He said the Kyoto pact - which the United States still refuses to ratify - was not radical enough, and would mean at best a reduction of 1% in global emissions.


It would be wildly Utopian to believe summits are going to solve the problems of the world

Tony Blair

Mr Blair is in Mozambique ahead of joining other world leaders at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg on Monday.

He has already said there should be "no back-sliding" at the summit on issues such as education and clean water.

He said the world needed to face up to the challenge of environmental degradation and the plight of the millions living in poverty.

Mr Blair's comments on global emissions were made to an invited audience of businessmen and government officials in the Mozambique capital Maputo.

'Better knowledge'

He also announced that British firms exporting renewable energy technology would now qualify for at least 50m in export credits guarantees, giving them a safety net when dealing with developing countries.

"Kyoto is not radical enough. Yet it is, at present the most that is politically do-able and even then the largest nation, the United States, stands outside it," he said.

"It would help enormously in securing support for Kyoto - and indeed for the necessary more radical action on climate change - if we had a far clearer and deeper knowledge of how science and technology could help in energy production and use."

He added a better knowledge was also needed "of how market incentives could play a part in changing behaviour, of how business could not just survive but prosper on the back of good environmental policy".

The Kyoto pact, signed in Japan in 1997, requires industrialised countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 8% of the 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

The US, the world's biggest polluter opted out of the pact last year, arguing that its economic interests would be threatened.

Action plan

Looking ahead to his summit visit, Mr Blair said earlier: "It would be wildly Utopian to believe summits are going to solve the problems of the world.

"Equally it is crudely cynical to dismiss them."

Aid to Mozambique
British aid helped flood victims in Mozambique
In the run-up to his summit appearance, Mr Blair has been dodging questions about whether or not Britain would follow the lead of the United States in any attack against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

He has insisted the focus of the summit should not be overshadowed by the Iraq issue.

He wanted to see a concrete plan of action, not a vague wish-list, on issues such as the environment, education, poverty reduction and clean water.

In Mozambique, Mr Blair has been seeing for himself how part of Britain's 38m aid to the country is spent.

He visited a hospital, a school and marketplace around the central Mozambique town of Beira which are all recipients of cash from Britain's Department For International Development.

In the nearby town of Dondo he met young people involved in sex education projects, saw a village project dealing with making malaria-proof mosquito nets, and watched a play staged by children aimed at highlighting the dangers of Aids.

It is hoped that Mr Blair will be able to break the deadlock in Johannesburg when he arrives on Monday.

He is also planning to announce new initiatives, including a new obligation on British companies to declare payments to foreign governments and officials as a safeguard against corruption.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's John Pienaar
"Tony Blair was here to see and be seen"

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See also:

28 Aug 02 | Africa
28 Aug 02 | Africa
28 Aug 02 | Archive
28 Aug 02 | Business
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