US President George W. Bush threw cold water yesterday on prospects of a Kyoto-style deal on fighting global warming by the world's most powerful leaders, despite reports they were near an accord.
In an interview on British television to be aired later yesterday, Bush said global warming was "a significant, long-term issue that we've got to deal with" but vowed to spurn any deal that "looks like Kyoto."
Bush and the other leaders of the Group of Eight industrial countries were to meet in Scotland from tomorrow to discuss global warming, as the Financial Times reported they have agreed a draft making explicit mention of the Kyoto Protocol.
"There is an acknowledgment in the text that the science compels us to act and that human activity contributes to climate change," a high-ranking diplomat was quoted as telling The Financial Times.
The diplomat, one of the "sherpas" sent to prepare the summit by the G8 delegations, said the draft final statement makes two explicit references to Kyoto.
Taking effect in February, the Kyoto Protocol, which the United States refused to sign, calls for a global cut of 5.2 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 over 1990 levels. The deal was sealed on December 11, 1997.
The Bush administration insists that the Kyoto Protocol, which Washington has not ratified, is "fundamentally flawed" and liable to wreak havoc on the US economy with its strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
"If this (draft plan under negotiation) looks like Kyoto, the answer is no," Bush said in the interview to be aired. "The Kyoto treaty would have wrecked our economy, if I can be blunt."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the summit's host, is keen to get a strong declaration from his G8 partners on fighting poverty in Africa that will feature bold new initiatives on aid, trade and debt reduction.
Yet, international aid workers feared G8 efforts to fight poverty in Africa would fall short of expectations raised on Saturday by the Live 8 concerts worldwide and a mass demonstration in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.
Oxfam's policy adviser Max Lawson said: "If this were an ordinary year, this would be quite good news. But in a year when we have such great expectations and promises, it is not good enough."
British Development Minister Hilary Benn said at the weekend there would probably be no deal on making trade fairer with developing countries.
(China Daily July 5, 2005)