• Kyodo


The United States will devise an alternative to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming based on voluntary industry measures to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The report quoted sources as saying the administration of President George W. Bush “is considering new approaches that would allow industries to voluntarily meet less onerous targets . . . They would be allowed to do so without having to severely cut back production or incur major costs.”

The Kyoto pact, negotiated and adopted in the ancient Japanese capital, requires industrialized countries to impose binding limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012.

The U.S. would be required to cut emissions by 7 percent under the protocol. Bush announced in March that the U.S. will ditch the pact because it exempts developing countries from compliance and would hurt the U.S. economy.

The newspaper said Bush’s contemplated alternative is based on the assumption that dangerous levels of greenhouse gases can be reduced through advances in plant equipment and by creating forests and agricultural areas that absorb the gases.

“The administration is also considering proposing adoption of a trading system that would allow large industrial polluters that far exceed emissions standards to buy offsetting ‘credits’ from corporations that pollute very little,” the daily said.

Bush and his advisers would like to have the alternative in hand when the president meets with European Union leaders June 14 and 15 in Sweden, it said. It also said there were “signs” that a global warming task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney will provide Bush with a general outline of a proposal that he can present to the EU leaders.

The daily said Bush’s planned approach would be “unacceptable to most U.S. allies in Europe and Japan.” European countries have suggested that they aim to ratify the Kyoto Protocol without U.S. participation, while Japan has been urging the U.S. to remain within the framework of the pact.

Detailed rules for implementation of the Kyoto Protocol are expected to be set during the upcoming session of a U.N. climate conference scheduled for July in Bonn, Germany, which would resume talks that collapsed last November over forest absorption in meeting greenhouse-gas reduction targets.

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