21 September 2005

EU urges US climate change rethink

US climate change policy is not succeeding in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the EU's environment chief said. European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said although he did not think specific disasters like hurricane Katrina could be linked to climate change, he thought the storm would make America think more closely about its environmental stewardship.

He said the EU approach to climate change - signing up to a cap on carbon dioxide output and allocating emission rights through a market - was lowering emissions, whereas US emissions were rising.

"They claim that they have a different approach to climate change," Dimas said of the United States.

"The fact is that their approach and our approach have different results. We are cutting our greenhouse gas emissions ... while the Americans are increasing their greenhouse gas emissions," he told reporters.

EU environment and agriculture ministers are in London to discuss links between farming and climate change.

Climate change policies sharply divide the United States from its allies in Europe, who have signed up for caps on emissions of greenhouse gases under the UN's Kyoto protocol.

The US, which pulled out of Kyoto in 2001 saying it was too expensive and wrongly excluded developing countries from the initial caps, emphasises climate change technology and does not want binding limits on emissions of gases that scientists say get trapped in the atmosphere and heat up the earth.

"It (Katrina) was a great shock for the Americans, I think, for everybody, for us," Dimas said.

"It will make people think ... not for climate change only, but about environment for sure. They should be more careful about the environment, about policies connected to the environment."

Source: Ninemsn

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