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In Ratifying Climate Pact, EU Asks U.S. to Reconsider

June 01, 2002|From Reuters

UNITED NATIONS — All 15 European Union nations ratified the Kyoto pact against global warming Friday and goaded Washington--which has turned its back on the treaty--to also do its part.

The so-called Kyoto Protocol, which grew out of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, is aimed at cutting the emission of "greenhouse gases" blamed for rising global temperatures.

Signed in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, the protocol requires industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5% over the 2008-12 period.

But the United States, the world's largest polluter, shunned the treaty shortly after President Bush took office last year, arguing that it would harm the nation's economy.

The pact would have required Washington to cut emissions by 7% from 1990 levels, but the Bush administration has instead announced policy changes likely to push up its emissions by 30% by 2010, the European Commission said.

At a ceremony at U.N. headquarters in New York, representatives of all 15 EU member states and the European Commission handed papers from their respective nations to U.N. chief legal counsel Hans Corell, signifying that their national legislatures had approved the pact.

Margot Wallstrom, EU commissioner for the environment, called the signing "an historic moment for global efforts to combat climate change," but she stressed the need for Washington to pitch in.

"The United States is the only nation to have spoken out against and rejected the global framework for addressing climate change. The European Union urges the United States to reconsider its position," she said. "All countries have to act, but the industrialized world has to take the lead."

The ceremony came as ministers representing the United Nations' 189 member nations gathered on the Indonesian island of Bali to complete preparations for a follow-up to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, this August.

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