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Environmentalists attack world climate body vote

23.04.2002
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Environmentalists attack world climate body vote
GENEVA - A U.S. scientist who advocates action against global warming was ousted last week as head of the U.N.\'s climate advisory body and environmentalists said Washington engineered his defeat.
Robert Watson was beaten in a secret ballot by Rajendra Pachauri of India in an election for chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body that advises governments on long-term climatic variations. The United States had already announced it would not back him for another six-year term as head of the 192-state body. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Swiss-based environmental protection group, issued a statement expressing concern. \"The WWF is very concerned at the apparent politicisation of the IPCC following the vote today,\" the statement said. But it added that its concerns were not with Pachauri but with what it said was \"extensive lobbying\" against Watson by the administration of President George W. Bush. The environmentalist attack followed the leaking of a memo from a major U.S. oil company urging the White House to oppose Watson\'s re-election. U.S. officials in Geneva could not immediately be contacted to comment. The United States has refused to join the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce most industrial nations\' net emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. Watson is a strong supporter of the pact which is opposed by major oil companies. The United States says the Kyoto pact is flawed and expensive and has proposed an alternative strategy that would slow the increase of emissions but not decrease them as called for by Kyoto. The Brazilian head of a global body that polices chemical weapons earlier this month accused the United States of trying to oust him because of his independence and overtures to Iraq. Jose Bustani, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the United States was seeking to oust him at a special session on April 21. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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