The United Nations praised yesterday a step by a US Senate
committee to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the world's top carbon
emitter even as Washington reaffirmed opposition to caps.
"That's a very encouraging sign from the United States," Yvo de
Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, said at 190-nation
UN talks in Bali, Indonesia, of a vote by the Senate Environment
and Public Works Committee.
His comments rubbed in the isolation of President George W.
Bush's administration at the December 3-14 talks. Australia's new
government ratified the Kyoto Protocol on Monday, leaving the
United States as the only developed nation outside the pact.
In Washington, the Senate committee voted 11-8 on Wednesday for
legislation outlining a cap-and-trade system for industry, power
generators and transport. The bill is headed for debate in the full
"It will not alter our position here," US chief climate
negotiator Harlan Watson told reporters in Bali of the vote. Bush
has opposed mandatory caps on emissions, favoring instead big
investments in clean technologies.
And Watson said Washington was pushing ahead with its own track
by inviting big economies to Honolulu, Hawaii, next month for
climate change talks after a first Washington meeting in September.
He said he believed the dates were Jan. 29 and 30.
Bush wants 17 big emitters, accounting for more than 80 percent
of world greenhouse gases, to agree to new climate goals by the end
of 2008 - just before Bush leaves office - and feed into a new UN
pact meant to be agreed by the end of 2009.
(China Daily via Agencies December 7, 2007)