Bush cuts 'green' aid to Third World

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President George W Bush is undermining attempts by Third World countries to develop renewable sources of energy and fight global warming, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

He is planning to slash US aid to help them combat climate change, and is watering down a personal initiative by Tony Blair for the world's richest countries to promote solar, wind and other clean energy in developing nations.

The news is bound to create a new storm over the US's determination to destroy international agreement on cutting pollution. Tomorrow, environment ministers meet in Bonn to see if they can agree on ways of implementing the Kyoto Protocol ­ which would reduce emissions of so-called "greenhouse gases" by 5.2 per cent in the next decade ­ without the US.

Many countries will see the President's actions as adding insult to injury since he cited the protocol's failure to impose immediate pollution cuts on developing countries as a major reason for rejecting it.

They also give the lie to a personal promise he gave last month to work with Third World countries "to reduce greenhouse emissions and maintain economic growth".