US 'will reject G8 climate change deal'

The US is preparing to reject new targets on climate change at a G8 summit next month, dashing German and British hopes of brokering a new global pact on reducing carbon emissions, according to a document leaked by environmental campaigners.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, holding the rotating presidency of both the G8 bloc of industrialised nations and the European Union, wants the June meeting to agree targets for cuts in greenhouse gas outputs and a timetable for a major agreement on emissions reduction to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

But unattributed comments written on a draft summit document, which Greenpeace said were written by US officials and handed to the group by an undisclosed third party, suggest the White House has major reservations.

“The US still has serious, fundamental concerns about this draft statement,” the notes on the document read. “The treatment of climate change runs counter to our overall position and crosses multiple ’red lines’ in terms of what we simply cannot agree to.”

The 27 EU members have agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 - building on Kyoto – and by 30% if a broader international agreement can be reached.

Though Ms Merkel and outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair – who made climate change a key priority for his final weeks in office – have pressed President George Bush to back a new agreement, the leaked document claimed the White House is “fundamentally opposed” to many of the European objectives.

The US, the world’s biggest polluter, did not ratify the Kyoto agreement through which developed countries agreed to cut emissions by 5% below their 1990 level by 2012.

Ms Merkel is seeking to win agreements for a global reduction in emissions of 50% below 1990 levels by 2050 and bold commitments to energy efficiency strategies at the two-day summit in Heiligendamm, on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, which begins on June 6.

The draft also included a commitment to curb the rise in average temperatures this century to two degrees Celsius, said environmental group Greenpeace – which has published two leaked versions of the document.

Following talks in Washington with President Bush on May 17, Mr Blair said: “I believe it is possible that we will see action, and at least the beginnings of that action, at the G8.”

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