US hard line on carbon dioxide

Issue 

US hard line on carbon dioxide

NEW YORK — A stronger US position on curbing carbon dioxide emissions is unlikely to occur in time for the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), a high-ranking official from the US Department of Energy said here on February 21.

Howard Gruenspecht, from the US Department of Energy in Washington, told reporters here that he saw "no indication of a change in the United States' position".

The US remains one of the few countries resisting the idea of setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions. According to Gruenspecht, the actions proposed in the newly released US national energy strategy are sufficient to reduce greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide.

The United States' unyielding position on this issue could undermine the effectiveness of the June 1-12 UNCED meeting, called the "Earth Summit".

Gruenspecht's announcement came on the day when Greenpeace International accused the Bush administration of obstructing progress at all international meetings on the issue of global warming.

With the US producing a quarter of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, environmental organisations and

international governments are urging the Bush administration to exhibit greater responsibility.

According to Gruenspecht, reducing carbon dioxide emissions requires "commitment actions by everybody", including developing countries, even though they have played a minimal role in the build-up of greenhouse gases.

In its 16-page report, titled, "International Environmental Issues: President Bush's Irresponsible Actions", Greenpeace said that "the US delegation has held an increasingly untenable position which maintains that stabilisation of greenhouse gases generally is an adequate response to climate change".

In addition, "it opposes the setting of any international targets or timetables for the reduction of carbon dioxide and other specific greenhouse gases", says the report.

Greenpeace contends that these two positions are contrary to both recent scientific findings and the preferred position of western industrialised countries.
[From Inter Press Service/Pegasus.]

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