US cannot meet Kyoto emissions target

A A A

America cannot meet its Kyoto treaty target for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by domestic measures alone, a senior United States official admitted yesterday.

America cannot meet its Kyoto treaty target for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by domestic measures alone, a senior United States official admitted yesterday.

The agreed target, which would mean cutting a staggering 30 per cent of the US's emissions of carbon dioxide and other industrial gases by 2010, is too big, said Frank Loy, the State Department's under-secretary for global affairs.

Instead, it will need to buy huge amounts of "emissions credits" from other countries, and no limit should be set on these, said Mr Loy, who is opposite number to John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, as chief US negotiator for the Kyoto follow-up conference to be held in the Hague in November.

Mr Loy's admission, at the US embassy in London, underlines the problems facing implementation of the 1997 Kyoto treaty, in which developed countries agreed to make big cuts in the gases that cause climate change.

The conference in The Hague is to try to finalise the treaty's provisions. But Mr Loy's insistence on there being no limit to the "theoretical" emission cuts that the US can buy from other states which may have exceeded their targets, puts it on a collision course with Britain and the rest of the European Union.

The EU says that no country should be able to buy more than 50 per cent of its target emission cuts from other states; the rest of it should consist of "real" cuts. Otherwise the US, the richest country in the world, will look as if it is merely buying its way out of its international obligations to fight global warming.

The US agreed at Kyoto to cut back its greenhouse gases to 7 per cent below their 1990 levels by 2010. But Mr Loy said that US economic growth in the Nineties means the emissions America will be producing by 2010 will have to be slashed by 30 per cent to meet the 1990 baseline target. "It's a very tough one," he said.

Although Mr Loy did not put a figure on the cuts, it is thought that they would have to exceed seven billion tons of CO 2 annually, and such a goal is widely regarded as impossible in practice - unless Californians stop driving their cars and go over to bicycles.

But Mr Loy's open admission of the impossibility of achieving the targets underscores the huge negotiating gap that will have to be bridged before the Kyoto treaty can take effect.

* The warming climate is eroding more than 50 billion tons of water a year from the Greenland ice sheet, adding to a 9in global rise in sea level over the last century and increasing the risk of coastal flooding around the world, a US study shows. A high-tech aerial survey by Nasa shows that more than 11 cubic miles of ice is disappearing from the ice sheet annually.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?