The European Union yesterday threatened to boycott talks among top greenhouse gas emitting nations hosted by the United States, accusing Washington of blocking goals for fighting climate change at UN talks in Bali.
"If we would have a failure in Bali, it would be meaningless to have a major economies' meeting" in the United States, Humberto Rosa, Portugal's Secretary of State for Environment, said on the penultimate day of the two-week talks.
"We're not blackmailing," he said, ratcheting up a war of words with Washington at the 190-nation meeting.
"If no Bali, no MEM (major economies' meeting)."
Portugal holds the rotating EU presidency and Rosa is the EU's top negotiator in Bali, where delegates are seeking to agree to launch talks on a broad new climate treaty to combat floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising seas from 2012.
Washington, long at odds with many of its Western allies on climate policies, has called a meeting of 17 of the world's top emitters in Hawaii late next month to discuss long-term curbs on greenhouse gases.
The December 3-14 Bali talks are split over the guidelines for starting two years of formal negotiations on a deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, a UN pact capping greenhouse gas emissions of all industrial nations except the United States until 2012.
The EU wants Bali's final text to agree a non-binding goal of cuts in emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 for industrial economies. The United States, Japan and Canada are opposed, saying any figures would prejudge the outcome.
Former US vice-president Al Gore won applause on the sidelines of the talks by adding his voice to criticisms of Washington.
"My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress in Bali," he said.
(China Daily December 14, 2007)