Environment Minister Persuades U.S. To Control Gases

    Sweden's environment minister urged the U.S. Senate on Monday to pass legislation to control greenhouse gases, saying a delay in the vote is hindering negotiations on a new international climate treaty.

    Minister Andreas Carlgren was briefing reporters in Stockholm about the state of negotiations ahead of the Major Economics Forum on Energy and Climate, which begins in Washington on Thursday. The forum includes representatives from 17 major economies, including the U.S., the European Union, China, India and Brazil.

   Last week, Todd Stern, the U.S. State Department's special envoy for climate change, made a similar appeal, saying that with the negotiations on a new international climate treaty proving difficult, the U.S. Senate must pass legislation to control the gases blamed for global warming. He said that would give the U.S. the "credibility and leverage" it needs to persuade other countries to reduce their pollution.

    Sweden currently holds the rotating EU presidency and plays an active role in the talks leading up to the Copenhagen summit, which aims to replace the Kyoto Protocol with a new treaty for cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

  The U.S. House has passed a bill that would set a limit on greenhouse gases. Factories, power plants and other sources would be required to cut emissions by about 80 percent by 2050. But action on the bill in the U.S. Senate has been delayed as lawmakers wrestle with the complex issues of proposed U.S. health care reforms.

  The U.S., which has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, agreed with nearly 200 other nations at a conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December to negotiate a new agreement by the end of 2009, according to The Associated Press.