EU prepares for disappointing US climate offer

USA expected to propose only stabilisation of greenhouse gases by 2010

US President Bill Clinton is expected to reveal his country's negotiating position for the Kyoto climate talks this evening, shortly after ENDS Daily's publication deadline. Such is the USA's pivotal position in the negotiations that Europe was today abuzz with rumours in anticipation of Mr Clinton's speech. Earlier today, US news services suggested that the US position is likely to be considerably weaker than the recent Japanese proposal for "up to 5%" cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2010, which itself is far less ambitious than the EU demand for a 15% reduction by the same time. Based on information from industry sources, said to have been confirmed by White House sources, the reports said the President would propose stabilisation of greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2008-2012, followed by a 5% cut by 2017. Mr Clinton is also expected to suggest an emissions trading system between the USA, Japan and the EU. Confronted with these reports at a press briefing today, a spokesperson for EU Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard predicted that such a proposal "simply will not fly". He added that an emissions trading system could not be established without targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental groups said they would lobby the EU to mount a fierce defence of its own proposal.

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The White House.

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