European nations have threatened to boycott U.S.-led climate talks in January unless Washington accepts a range of targets for negotiating steep reductions of global-warming emissions at the U.N. climate conference in Bali, Indonesia.
This raised the stakes as delegates from nearly 190 nations entered final deliberations aimed to launch negotiations for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
The United States, Japan and several other governments are rejecting language in a draft document indicating that industrialized nations should cut emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020, saying specific targets would limit the scope of future talks.
The EU countries state that the figures reflect the measures scientists say are needed to slow man-made global warming and all its related consequences.
The U.S. invited 16 other major economies, including European countries, Japan, China and India, to discuss a program of what are expected to be nationally determined, voluntary cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions. EU countries want a range of specific targets on the agenda.
The Bush administration is trying to work with the world’s other major economies to determine future steps to slow emissions. But environmentalists accuse the U.S. of trying to undermine the U.N. process.
U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer said he was worried the U.S.-EU deadlock could derail the process and that, while a final “Bali roadmap” would contain an agreement to negotiate a new climate deal by 2009 — it mightn’t include specific targets for emission reductions.
The Kyoto Protocol requires 37 industrial nations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by an average of five per cent below 1990 levels by 2012.
The U.S. administration has argued that the pact would harm the U.S. economy and cutbacks should have been imposed on poorer but fast-developing nations such as China and India.