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Agence France Presse

Greenpeace Posts Leaked US Objection to G8 Climate Statement


Greenpeace on Saturday published a leaked document showing the United States has raised serious new objections to a proposed global warming declaration for next month's Group of Eight summit.

In the document, US officials representing the administration of President George W. Bush reject the declaration prepared by Germany.

"The United States still has serious, fundamental concerns about this draft statement," the document states. 0526 05

Washington rejects the idea of setting mandatory emissions targets, as well as language calling for G8 nations to raise overall energy efficiencies by 20 percent by 2020.

With less than two weeks remaining before the June 6-8 G8 summit, the climate document is the only unresolved issue in the statements the world leaders are expected to sign there, according to media reports.

Representatives from the world's leading industrial nations met the past two days in Heiligendamm, Germany, to negotiate over German Chancellor Angela Merkel's proposed climate statement.

It calls for limiting the worldwide temperature rise this century to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit and cutting global greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

"The treatment of climate change runs counter to our overall position and crosses multiple 'red lines' in terms of what we simply cannot agree to," according to the undated document released by Greenpeace.

"We have tried to 'tread lightly' but there is only so far we can go given our fundamental opposition to the German position," it added.

According to reports in the Washington Post about the leaked document, the most recent draft, dated May 24, shows the two sides remain at odds.

While Germany has offered to alter language identifying a rise in global temperature of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit as a dangerous tipping point and instead accept a Russian proposal that targets a range from 2.7 to 4.5 degrees, the United States has yet to accept the modified language.

According to the US document, such proposals "are fundamentally incompatible with the (US) president's approach to climate change".

It proposes more general language stating simply that the G8 "is committed to taking strong and early action to balance global carbon circulation".

Washington further wants a statement that reads: "We acknowledge that the UN climate process is an appropriate forum for negotiating future global action on climate change" to be scrapped from the declaration.

On May 18, senior US lawmakers wrote to Bush expressing deep concern over reports that his administration was seeking to weaken a G8 declaration on climate change.

"US leadership is critical to tackling this global threat ... But we need an executive branch that engages the rest of the world to solve this problem rather than stubbornly ignoring it," the 15 heads of House committees wrote.

Copyright © 2007 AFP.

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