Race Is On to Save Kyoto Climate Pact Without US
Environment ministers from 180 countries will start trying to rescuethe Kyoto Treaty on global warming shortly. They join their officials who havebeen meeting all week in the German city of Bonn. The 1997 Kyoto agreementcommits industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Theprotocol was undermined in a major way in March when US President George W. Bushsaid it would weaken America's economy.
It's Beethoven who dominates the town square here and it's unlikelythat he'll have to give up his plane to a monument celebrating a conference,which halted global warming. Ministers from over 180 countries have alreadyagreed to global cuts in emissions of greenhouse gasses five percent below the1990 levels. But here they must decide how this will be achieved. Since GeorgeBush pulled out of the deal, the argument is between Japan and Europe. TheJapanese want flexible rules allowing them to plant more trees in place ofsteep cuts in pollution and weaker penalties for missing targets. Europedoesn't like it, but really wants a deal.
Jan Pronk (Conference Chairman): When I came to Bonn, I was a bitpessimistic, given many political statements, which were made during the lastcouple of weeks, that perhaps it would not be possible to reach [an]agreement.However, I have the impression that it is possible to reach a result.
If all the countries gathered here don't reach agreement in the nextfew days, it won't be the end of Kyoto, but it will be a failure. A failure toput national differences aside to resolve a problem, which the whole world,even the Americans agree, is a growing threat to our planet.