STRASBOURG - The European Parliament on Thursday condemned the United States' withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming as "appalling and provocative," accusing Washington of risking climate disaster by kow-towing to corporate greed.
A sharply worded resolution "strongly condemned" the decision by President George W. Bush not to implement the Kyoto Protocol signed by his predecessor, Bill Clinton, saying the move endangered "the whole Kyoto process."
Parliament, it said, "is appalled that the long-term interests of the majority of the world population are being sacrificed for short-term corporate greed in the US."
"This decision is a very bad political signal for EU-US relations and dialogue," it said.
The Kyoto Protocol, hammered out in the Japanese city of that name in 1997, targets reductions in carbon-rich gases, mainly the by-product of burning oil, gas and coal.
South Korean environmentalists chant anti-U.S. slogans near the U.S. embassy in Seoul April 2, 2001. About 30 protesters demanded that the Bush government support the 1997 Kyoto pact protocol on greenhouse gas reductions. The U.S. effectively abandoned the pact, saying it does not bind developing countries to curb emissions and that the agreement was not in its economic interests. REUTERS/Yun Suk-bong
It commits 38 industrialised countries to an overall cut of 5.2 percent of these "greenhouse" gases by 2010 compared with their 1990 levels.
Developing nations are included in the treaty, but excluded from emission quotas on economic grounds.
Scientists say the specter of global warming in the ensuing century poses cataclysmic scenarios. Melting polar icecaps will raise sea levels worldwide, churning up typhoons and tidal waves and threatening low-lying areas and small island states with obliteration.
In Brussels, EU environment commissioner Margot Wallstrom, just back from a futile mission to Washington trying to convince US officials to rethink their position, said the EU "really intends to push forward ... despite the US withdrawal."
"We indicated at the end of these talks that we were very disappointed ... and still very concerned," said Wallstrom.
She went to Washington with Swedish counterpart Kjell Larsson, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, and environment official Marc Pallemaerts of Belgium, which takes the presidency in July.
"The message from (the US) was very clear," Wallstrom told a press conference.
"They will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol and they want to withdraw from the Kyoto process. But they acknowledged that climate change was a big problem."
"Climate change is manifestly one of the most alarming challenges facing the world at the dawn of the 21st century," said the parliamentary resolution.
Recalling that the previous US administration of Bill Clinton had signed the protocol in l998, it called on Bush "to engage in constructive dialogue with the EU so that the 2002 implementation date can be respected."
Given that the Kyoto Protocol "remains the cornerstone of a world strategy against global warming," said the resolution, "the new American approach will condemn the US to environmental isolation."
"The struggle against global warming is a matter of solidarity between developed and developing countries," said the resolution. It added that parliament welcomed the "unanimous condemnation of the US by the EU, China and Japan."
It called on the European Commission and all member EU nations to "take all necessary political and diplomatic initiatives to put pressure on the US ... to urge it to reconsider its position."
Sustainable development and environmental protection, it said, "is a matter of solidarity between generations.
"It would be socially and humanly irresponsible to squander the heritage of energy resources and a sound environment to which our descendants will rightfully lay claim."
Copyright © 2001 AFP