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Australia is opposed to the European Union’s proposal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2000, Australian Environment Minister Robert Hill said July 31, according to Foreign Ministry officials.

The EU’s proposal would be devastating for the Third Conference of Parties to the U.N. Convention on Climate Change, or Cop3, to be held in Kyoto in December, Hill was quoted as saying. Hill made the remarks during a meeting with Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and other ministers from Australia. The Australian ministers are currently in Japan for the 14th Japan-Australia ministerial committee.

Other Australian officials who met with Hashimoto included: Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Timothy Fischer, Primary Industries and Energy Minister John Anderson, Industry, Science and Tourism Minister John Moore, Transport and Regional Development Minister John Sharp and Assistant Treasurer Rod Kemp. In the Kyoto gathering, more than 150 signatory nations will draw up a legally binding treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2000.

The EU has proposed that Europe and other member countries trim greenhouse gas emissions by a uniform rate of 15 percent from the 1990 level. Hashimoto and Downer also discussed the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, the officials said.

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