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Last Updated: Friday, 1 July, 2005, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
US is key to climate deal - Blair
Tony Blair and Bob Geldof on MTV
Mr Blair appears with Geldof on MTV
Tony Blair has said climate change is the most serious threat to the globe and any solution must involve the US.

Alongside Africa, the UK prime minister has made the issue a key plank of his ambitions for Britain's G8 presidency.

But the US, which refused to sign up to the Kyoto agreement on carbon emissions, wants the focus instead to be put on cleaner technology.

A new leak of the text to be discussed at next week's G8 summit suggests key areas are disputed by the US.

Beyond Kyoto?

The Guardian newspaper says a leaked version of the communiqué shows the US objects to the part of the text saying there is strong evidence that global warming is happening and human activity is contributing to it.

All G8 countries agree that global energy demands are likely to rise by 60% over the next 25 years, producing more greenhouse gases, says the report.

Earth
Mr Blair says the US is central to tackling climate change

But the US disagrees with a sentence saying: "But we know that we need to slow, stop and then reverse growth in greenhouse gases to reduce our exposure to potentially serious economic, environmental and security risks."

UK ministers say the only document which matters is the one which emerges from the summit at Gleneagles.

And Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said: "The UK is in no doubt about the strength of scientific evidence on climate change.

"But the theology is less important than action. It would be really worthwhile if we could get an action plan that moves us all towards a shared goal of a low carbon economy."

'America is crucial'

The US is the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases.

Mr Bush has conceded that greenhouse gases are creating a "long-term problem that we have got to deal with".

He says scientists have to find a way to "drive better, to have better engines for our cars and different fuel sources for cars".

Appearing on MTV Mr Blair said: "The only solution to this is one that includes America. If America is outside there isn't a solution.

"What I am trying to do at the G8 is say: 'America is not going to sign the Kyoto Treaty, let's leave that to one side'."

Passion for Africa

Mr Blair stressed that the US was spending more on developing new clean energy technologies than any other nation and that was the direction that they now had to go in.

"Can I get agreement on that? I don't know but I'm going to try," he said.

Asked if Mr Bush was just wrong on climate change, Mr Blair replied: "It is possible for any of us to be wrong in positions of power."

Seated alongside Bob Geldof, Mr Blair was also asked about his other key priority for Britain's G8 presidency - debt reduction and increased aid to Africa.

The prime minister added: "Africa has been a passion of mine. Concern about development was, in part, what brought me into politics.

"Thirty years ago, I guess I was the age of most people here. Thirty years later, I am in a position to do something about it."

All Eyes On Tony is due to be screened on MTV on Friday.


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