Bush wanted to join UN climate talks

Nearly one-fourth of United States senators on Monday wrote to President George Bush seeking his participation in discussions on global warming, as a United Nations conference meets in Montreal.Democrat Jeff Bingaman, Republican Olympia Snowe and 22 colleagues said that the United States has a legal obligation, under a UN treaty, to participate in the negotiations in a constructive way.

"In our view, a deliberate decision by the administration not to engage in such discussions, solely because they may include the topic of future binding emissions reductions requirements, is inconsistent with the obligations of the United States as set forth in the UNFCCC treaty.

"In any event, the United States should, at a minimum, refrain from blocking or obstructing such discussions amongst parties to the convention, since that would be inconsistent with its ongoing treaty obligations," the letter said.

Four senators of Bush's Republican Party signed the open letter.Signed by 34 governments, the Kyoto protocol requires countries to cut gases that cause global warming. The protocol became fully operational on Wednesday after the UN Climate Change Conference adopted final rules by consensus.

With the Kyoto protocol due to expire in 2012, the Montreal conference is trying to set out preliminary plans to further cut emissions when the accord ends.

The United States, which emits 25 percent of the world's so-called greenhouse gases, made clear last week that it opposed any talk of extending Kyoto-style limits on their emission.Since 2002, the administration of President George Bush said it has embarked on a voluntary policy to reduce US emissions by 18 percent by relying on new technology and without harming the US economy, reports Ireland Online. I.L.

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