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EU Insists Its Support for Kyoto Policy Unwavering

19.12.2003
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EU Insists Its Support for Kyoto Policy Unwavering

BRUSSELS - European Commission President Romano Prodi insisted the EU\'s support for the Kyoto Protocol was unwavering this week, after a commissioner said the EU must prepare for the possible failure of the global warming treaty.

Prodi\'s colleague, Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio, called into question the EU executive\'s staunch support for the landmark treaty on Monday due to Russian hesitation over implementing the accord.

\"We are not changing our position or going back on the targets that we have agreed,\" Prodi said in a statement.

If Russia fails to ratify the accord, which is aimed at cutting pollution and curbing greenhouse gas emissions, the treaty would not come into force in 2008 as planned.

De Palacio said the 15-nation bloc had to have a strategy to deal with this possibility.

Industry could not be left in limbo, she said, adding that she was not calling into question Kyoto herself.

Environmentalists were scathing in their criticism of the energy commissioner\'s stance.

\"(She) is actively torpedoing the EU\'s efforts to keep Kyoto alive,\" said Stephan Singer, head of WWF\'s climate and energy policy unit, in a statement.

The EU has drawn up legislation to help member states meet emissions targets under the pact and has created the world\'s first emissions trading scheme, a centerpiece of its efforts.

The protocol aims to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent of 1990 levels during a 2008-2012 five-year period.

The United States, the world\'s top polluter, has already refused to back Kyoto, saying it is a regulatory straitjacket that will harm industry and economic growth.


REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

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