EU to broker developing country climate deal

Commissioner pushes for stronger EU target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Now that developed countries have taken the lead by committing to legally binding targets to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases, attention must turn to developing countries, the EU environment council's president John Prescott told the European Parliament during its plenary session on Tuesday. In the next 20 to 30 years, China would overtake the USA as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, Mr Prescott pointed out, adding "we have to work out how to handle developing country emissions in a fair way". The EU had the opportunity to act as a "broker" between developed and developing countries, he said. The UK Presidency would use forthcoming international meetings, including a summit of EU and south-east Asian countries in April, to continue the climate change debate he said. Mr Prescott pledged to bring forward a proposal in June on how EU countries will share the burden of cutting emissions of six greenhouse gases by 8% by 2008-2012. Taking part in the same debate, EU Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard indicated that the EU should aim for a more ambitious emissions cut than 8%, while stressing that it was important to maintain unanimity between EU countries on the issue.

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