EU presses US Congress on climate change, says should cut carbon emissions

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

EU presses US on climate change

BRUSSELS — The European Union urged U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday to ensure the United States makes deep cuts in carbon emissions as part of negotiations to reach a new global climate change accord.

Sweden’s Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said the 27-nation bloc, as well as the United States and other developed countries, “should deliver” on promises to cut emissions by 80 percent by 2050, from 1990 levels.

“It’s the real substance of credibility that will be judged,” Carlgren told reporters after talks with lawmakers at the European Parliament.

Carlgren, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, is leading the EU team at U.N. negotiations to reach a deal on a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol by the end of the year in Copenhagen.

He said wealthy countries should be able to offer substantial cuts to show they are serious about fighting climate change by meeting promises to prevent the earth from warming by more than 2 degrees Centigrade (3.6 Fahrenheit).

He added that European nations and other rich countries should offer “significant money” to help poorer and undeveloped countries implement more environmentally friendly economic plans. EU nations will seek to agree by October on how much they would be willing to offer as part of their share for such a fund for poor countries.

The U.S. Senate is currently drafting a climate bill but European Parliament lawmakers fear it risks being watered down.

Jo Leinen, chair of the EU parliament’s environment committee, said the assembly would send a delegation to Washington later this month to explain the EU’s decision to cut emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

The U.S. plans as currently drafted would bring U.S. emissions about 4 percent below 1990 levels, and EU nations are demanding deeper cuts.

The last global accord, the Kyoto Protocol, is set to expire in 2012. The U.S. did not sign the Kyoto Protocol, citing its impact on the country’s economy and the lack of participation by developing countries such as India and China.

(This version CORRECTS UPDATES with quotes; background; corrects name of Swedish minister.)

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