GEORGE BUSH

JUNE 1 2007 18:47h

Bush Proposal Will Not Eclipse Kyoto

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U.S. President George W. Bush's proposal on carbon emission reductions will not eclipse the Kyoto protocol.

U.S. President George W. Bush's proposal on carbon emission reductions will not eclipse the Kyoto protocol, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Friday.

"I hope to hear Bush's proposal live at the G8 (Group of Eight) meeting. The concrete fact is that there is no chance of President Bush's proposal eclipsing the Kyoto protocol and other multilateral decisions because his proposal is based on voluntary (cuts)," Lula told reporters in London.

He voiced optimism about the chances of reaching a global trade deal. "The thesis that I defend and I believe, based on all the conversations that I had until now, is that there is a willingness among countries to reach a deal on the Doha round," Lula said.

Bush said on Thursday he wanted to convene a series of meetings with major polluters including India and China with the goal of formulating a long-term emissions reduction goal within 18 months. He gave no details.

Some observers viewed this as a capitulation by Bush whose officials have rejected attempts by G8 president Germany to get next week's summit in the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm to set binding targets and timetables for emission cuts.

Environmentalists saw it differently, however. They accused Washington of trying to undermine the G8 process and with it efforts to get a major U.N. climate meeting in Bali in December to agree a framework on talks to extend Kyoto beyond its first phase which ends in 2012.

Brazil has been invited to next week's G8 meeting along with China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

U.S. REJECTION

The United States decided against implementing Kyoto -- the only global deal on cutting emissions of climate warming carbon gases -- in 2001 because it was not binding on major emitter developing nations like India and China.

It has insisted it will not sign up to any successor unless it is binding on other major emitters. They argue that as they did not cause the problem they should not be held responsible for its solution.

"If we already have the Kyoto protocol, why invent another proposal and not just implement one that already exists?," Lula asked rhetorically, referring to Bush's proposal.

"If a country is incapable of implementing the result of an international treaty that has established rules and regulations, it won't end up implementing those rules voluntarily."

Lula voiced optimism about the chances of reaching a global free trade deal.

"The thesis that I defend and I believe, based on all the conversations that I had until now, is that there is a willingness among countries to reach a deal on the Doha round," he said.

There has been a flurry of preparatory talks between key World Trade Organisation (WTO) members before a meeting in mid-June of the EU, the United States, Brazil and India, the so-called G4 group of trade powers.

This month's meeting, which Brazil's foreign minister has said is scheduled for June 19-22, is regarded as decisive for the fate of the WTO's Doha round of free trade negotiations.

The talks have missed several deadlines and without a breakthrough soon among the four core WTO members, they run the risk of several more years of delay due to elections in the United States next year and in India in 2009.

Lula is on a stopover in London on his way to India. He will be going to London's Wembley stadium on Friday evening to watch the England-Brazil soccer international.