Europe Stands up to America

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Ben Cohen
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Finally, someone other than Hugo Chavez is growing a spine:

From the AP:

European nations on Thursday threatened to boycott U.S.-led climate
talks next month unless Washington accepts a range of numbers for
negotiating deep reductions of global-warming emissions at a U.N.
conference here.

The move raised the stakes as delegates from nearly 190 nations
entered final-hour talks on Bali aimed at launching negotiations for a
successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

The United States, Japan and several other governments refuse to
accept language in a draft document suggesting that industrialized
nations consider cutting emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020,
saying specific targets would limit the scope of future talks.

The European Union and others say the figures reflect the measures
scientists say are needed to rein in global warming and head off
predictions of rising sea levels, worsening floods and droughts, and
the extinction of plant and animal species.

"No result in Bali means no Major Economies Meeting," said Sigmar
Gabriel, top EU environment official from Germany, referring to a
series of separate climate talks initiated by President Bush in
September. "This is the clear position of the EU. I do not know what we
should talk about if there is no target."

The U.S. invited 16 other major economies, including European
countries, Japan, China and India, to discuss a program of what are
expected to be nationally determined, voluntary cutbacks in greenhouse
gas emissions.

The Bush administration views the major economies process as the
main vehicle for determining future steps by the U.S. — and it hopes by
others — to slow emissions. But environmentalists accuse the U.S. of
trying to undermine the U.N. process.

The talks in Bali are scheduled to wrap up Friday.

U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer said he was worried the U.S.-EU
deadlock could derail the process and that a final "Bali roadmap" would
contain an agreement to negotiate a new climate deal by 2009, but may
not include specific targets for emission reductions.

"I'm very concerned about the pace of things," he said. "If we don't
get wording on the future, then the whole house of cards falls to
pieces."

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