Gore calls for early climate pact
By Aasa Christine Stoltz
OSLO (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore urged governments on Friday to advance by two years a new treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions instead of waiting until the Kyoto pact expires in 2012.
Government ministers are meeting at a U.N. conference in Bali, Indonesia, to try to launch talks on a successor to the Kyoto pact to be concluded by 2009, which would allow three years for ratification before the existing pact expires.
"I hope they will move the effective date of the new treaty forward by two years so that we don't wait until 2012 to have a much tougher treaty in place," former U.S. Vice-President Gore said on arriving in Oslo where he will collect the Nobel prize on Monday.
Gore and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were jointly awarded the 2007 peace prize for their work to raise awareness and further the science of climate change.
Gore said the need for an early treaty would be part of his message to governments both when he received his prize in Norway and later at the U.N climate conference in Bali.
The 1997 Kyoto protocol, the main U.N. climate pact binding 36 nations to cut emissions, was rejected by the United States, which argued that it would be too expensive and wrongly omitted developing nations from the cuts.
"The United States should be the natural leader in this challenge, and many of us are working very hard to bring about a change in the policies of the United States of America," Gore said at Oslo airport.
He said there were signs of a change in attitude in the United States, with more than 700 cities and many states adopting Kyoto provisions, and a call last week by 150 U.S. business leaders for binding carbon emissions cuts.
"So we are making a lot of progress," Gore said before boarding the public rail link to central Oslo with other travelers.
He said taking the train would be faster and better than other forms of transport, and represented the kind of choice that people could make for the environment.
Gore was lampooned in 2006 for riding in a limousine to a showing at the Cannes film festival of his Oscar-winning film "An Inconvenient Truth," which calls for urgent action to fight climate change.
(Reporting by Aasa Christine Stolz; writing by John Acher; editing by Sarah Marsh)