Wed, Dec 08, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Environmentalists sad US, China don't join Kyoto protocol


Participants at a UN-sponsored environmental meeting here Monday lamented the failure by the US, China and other key countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases.

The delegates at the meeting said the groundbreaking global treaty will be diminished without their support.

The Kyoto accords, the world's most ambitious and complex environmental treaty, legally commit 39 industrial nations and territories, including Japan and Europe, to trim their output of six "greenhouse" gases -- especially carbon dioxide -- by at least 5.2 percent by 2012, compared with 1990 levels.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month signed a bill confirming his nation's ratification of the protocol, giving the global climate pact the final stamp of approval needed to allow it to come into force on Feb. 16.

But the list of signatories to the international pact does not include the US, China and India -- all major culprits for the worldwide rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

China and India are experiencing a dramatic rise in their greenhouse gas emissions as a result of their rapid economic growth.

And the US -- the largest producer of global-warming gases -- on Monday rejected any discussion of changing its position, calling any talk of a post-2012 regime with Washington's senior climate change negotiator Harlan Watson calling such discussions "totally premature."

Delegates from 150 countries, along with 6,000 representatives from government, industry and non-profit groups, were in Buenos Aires for the UN-sponsored climate change conference, which runs through Dec. 17.

Climatic events linked to global warming have been seen in Argentina, the country's health and environment minister, Gines Gonzalez Garcia, told the delegates.

"In Argentina we have been carrying out a systematic study of those adverse effects, and the evidence gathered indicates that the problem is even worse and is speeding up at a faster pace than formerly anticipated," Gonzalez Garcia said.

The South American nation has experienced more frequent violent storms and tornadoes, a higher recurrence of floods, receding glaciers and a rise in sea level, he said, adding that the climate change poses health risks.

He said these weather patterns are "some of the signs confirming in our country that what were identified as possible consequences of global warming are already taking place.

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