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
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears