Bush to announce alternative Kyoto

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President George Bush will unveil today America's long-awaited and less onerous alternative to the Kyoto global warming pact he rejected last year.

Though details have not been disclosed, it is expected to set a less ambitious goal than the 7 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases demanded of the US in the Kyoto protocol. Washington argues such stringent mandatory reductions could do unwarranted damage to the US economy. It also objects to the exemption from the curbs of developing countries such as India and China.

Mr Bush would be outlining "a new approach, a new policy, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the world, led by the United States,'' Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said. The plan, released on the eve of Mr Bush's trip to Japan, is likely to propose linking emission of warming gases such as carbon dioxide to economic growth indicators. It would be coupled to a drive to develop new technology to reduce the impact of the emissions.

But environmentalists and many scientists reject that pproach, saying it permits continuing increases in US emissions. America currrently accounts for 25 per cent of the global discharges of pollutant warming gases.

Under the Kyoto protocol, other industrialised countries have to cut emissions from 1990 levels by an average 5.2 per cent between 2008 and 2012. Japan has acknowledged that the US plan could "co-exist" with the Kyoto agreement.