Bush unveils strategy on climate change
By Andrew Ward in Washington
Published: May 31 2007 16:06 | Last updated: May 31 2007 16:06
President George W. Bush on Thursday committed the US for the first time to take part in negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto treaty and agreed to set goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The decision appeared to mark a landmark break by Washington from its longstanding opposition to global limits on carbon emissions, although the US plans still fall short of some European demands.
A senior US administration official said Mr Bush would announce the new position in a speech in Washington on Thursday morning.
Mr Bush was expected to pledge to work with several other large economies, including China and India, to agree a â€œlong-term goalâ€ for reduction in emissions, together with strategies for achieving the target, within 18 months â€“ before he leaves office in January 2009.
The official said the US would seek to convene a conference to set the process in motion, possibly as early as this autumn.
The process would complement broader international efforts to agree a replacement for the Kyoto protocol on carbon emissions when it expires in 2012, said the official.
Washington refused to sign up to the Kyoto treaty and had until Thursday appeared unwilling to engage in negotiations about its successor.
The policy shift came less than a week before Mr Bush travels to Germany for the annual G8 meeting of industrialised nations, where climate change is expected to be high on the agenda.
Mr Bush has faced years of pressure from European leaders to increase US co-operation with international efforts to tackle global warming.
The US was sending a â€œlong-term signal that we want to reduce greenhouse gases significantly,â€ said the administration official.
He warned that the US and Europe remained at odds over European calls for an attempt to limit global temperature increases to a certain target.
But he said transatlantic agreement on climate change now far outweighed the disagreement.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007