Greenpeace asks EU not to break promises to cut polluting greenhouse gases

Greenpeace warned European Union governments Friday not to backtrack on commitments to making further cuts in polluting greenhouse gases beyond 2012. EU environment ministers hold talks Monday in Luxembourg to discuss what joint position to take to U.N. talks in Montreal, Canada, in November on launching a global approach to cutting pollution post-2012.

The U.N. meeting was called to seek a renewal of the Kyoto protocol, negotiated in Japan in 1997, which calls on the world's top 35 industrialized countries to cut carbon dioxide and other gas emissions by 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels by 2012, the AP reminds.

The environmental group Greenpeace said a proposed EU position was being watered down to make only a vague commitment on what cuts the 25-nation bloc aims to achieve after 2012.

The group accused the British EU presidency, which is drafting the proposal, on backtracking on earlier EU commitments.

Both France and the Netherlands back the current draft, while Germany is trying to push for a clearer text, abiding by previous promises.

"We would like to see much clearer language on targets in the post-2012 arrangement," said Mahi Sideridou, Greenpeace's climate change expert.

In June, EU leaders endorsed plans to bring carbon emissions of greenhouse gases to 15 to 30 percent below 1990 levels, by 2020. The leaders, however, shelved a plan to make further cuts of between 60 to 80 percent by 2050, adding that it would "keep the issue (of further long-term cuts) under review" instead.

The latest draft proposal calls for "substantial reductions in the order of at least 15 percent and perhaps by as much as 50 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels."

The EU is keen to bring the United States and Australia, which did not join the 140-nation protocol, on board in a new post-Kyoto climate change pact.

The United States refused to ratify the 1997 protocol, arguing that it would do too much harm to its industrial sector. Washington has instead pursued voluntary cuts rather than binding ones and promoted new, cleaner technologies.


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