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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bush's climate change plan branded "Neanderthal"

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, April 18, 2008

International efforts are gaining momentum to hammer out a new climate change agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

A new plan from U.S. President George Bush which aims to cap greenhouse gases by 2025 has been dismissed as "disastrous" and "Neanderthal" by a group of ministers at a climate change meeting in Paris.

This week Mr Bush said he wanted to stop the growth of U.S. emissions by 2025, taking a stronger stance on the issue than in the past.

However his plan, announced at a ministerial-level meeting of major carbon emitters, has drawn criticism from delegates from Australia, the European Union and some U.S. participants.

Germany says Mr Bush has taken climate change policy back in time, to before last December's UN climate talks in Bali and last July's G8 summit.

In a statement called "Bush's Neanderthal speech," German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: "His speech showed not leadership but losership. We are glad that there are also other voices in the United States."

South Africa said Mr Bush's proposal was a disastrous effort from the world's biggest carbon polluter and a "slap" to developing countries.

International efforts are gaining momentum to hammer out a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

The talks in Bali produced a two-year "roadmap" intended to lead towards a global agreement on carbon emissions by 2013.

Climate experts say any new agreement must form a bridge between the U.S. and the EU, on the one hand, and developing nations on the other.

Mr Bush's critics say that instead of setting a date for cutting U.S. emissions, he had merely chosen the year 2025 for them to peak.

He also renewed his attack on Kyoto-style mandatory emissions caps, and pressed big emerging countries to make concessions, saying they should not get "a free ride" in the next climate treaty.

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