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EU Ministers Seek Post-2012 Climate Change Plan

EU Ministers Seek Post-2012 Climate Change Plan
LUXEMBOURG - European Union ministers on Monday called on countries around the world to form a global plan to fight climate change after 2012, but activists said the bloc must be more clear about its timetable for progress.

The EU, which helped secure the support that brought the international climate change treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol into force, was expected to play a key role in further negotiations on global warming in Montreal later this year.

EU environment ministers said in a text on Monday that the 25-nation bloc would initiate a process with other nations to establish a regime after 2012, when the first period covered by Kyoto runs out.

"It was made clear that the council (of EU ministers) wants to see as many of our global partners as possible engaged in this dialogue because of course we are talking very much about something which is a global problem," British environment chief Margaret Beckett told a news conference.

Though the text of conclusions from the meeting did not specifically mention the EU's own goals of cutting emissions by 15 percent to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, it said a follow-up regime to Kyoto would include market mechanisms such as carbon dioxide trading, developing new technology and addressing how to adapt to the effects of global warming.

Beckett said the text left flexibility for the EU to negotiate in the international forum. Britain currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Environmental group Greenpeace said the ministers' conclusions were not clear enough about when such a deal should be reached.

"It is in the interest of climate protection and of confidence building around the globe that the EU be clear about its strategy. It is not," Greenpeace climate change expert Mahi Sideridou said in a statement.

"The text on the post-2012 process is vague, and ignores the urgency of getting it under way with a clear end date for the completion of negotiations."

Kyoto -- which sets caps on emissions of gases from factories, power plants and cars in developed nations to curb the rise in world temperatures -- entered into force on Feb. 16 despite a pull out from the United States, the world's largest polluter.

Story by Jeff Mason

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