EU urges Bush to be more ambitious on CO2 curbs
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission urged U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday to be more ambitious in tackling climate change while welcoming his acceptance that the United States would need to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
A spokesman for the European Union executive said Bush's plan to halt the growth of U.S. greenhouse emissions by 2025, announced on Wednesday, fell far short of the action needed by developed countries to save the planet from potentially catastrophic global warming.
"This does not match with the level of ambition needed on the part of developed countries, considering their responsibilities in the challenge we face," the spokesman said in a statement to Reuters.
The 27-nation EU and the United States have been at loggerheads over curbing emissions since Bush revoked Washington's signature of the Kyoto protocol on fighting climate change shortly after taking office in 2001.
The EU introduced an Emissions Trading Scheme for carbon dioxide (CO2), the main gas blamed for global warming, and has pledged to cut its greenhouse gases by at least one-fifth by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
"We welcome the fact that President Bush last night recognized the need for federal legislation of a legally binding nature to address greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and for the first time made a reference to cap and trade," the EU spokesman said.
"The Commission hopes that the U.S. will reflect further on the level of ambition this represents, and notably in only stopping the growth of U.S. emissions by 2025," he said.
The EU spokesman said developed countries needed, more than ever, to lead by example if they are to persuade major emerging countries such as China and India to join in curbing greenhouse gases to limit the rise in global temperatures.
The food crisis hitting many countries was at least partly due to extreme weather events which accelerating climate change would only aggravate, he said.
(reporting by Paul Taylor, editing by Dale Hudson and William Schomberg)