- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2001

A top Australian official said yesterday that no global warming agreement will be complete without the United States and that U.S. leadership is needed to craft a better treaty on the issue.
"The United States is the key player," Australia's environmental minister, Robert Hill, said in Sydney before departing to join international talks on global warming at the United Nations in New York next week.
Mr. Hill said it makes no sense to try to complete work on the 1997 global warming treaty drafted in Kyoto, Japan, without the United States, as the European Union is advocating.
The United States produces "25 percent of global emissions, it's the world's largest economy, it has the greatest capacity to significantly address this global environmental issue," Mr. Hill said. "I will be urging their continued participation and leadership towards a better global outcome."
Bush administration officials will attend the New York meetings, though they say they have not finished putting together their position on global warming.
President Bush stunned the European Union and other nations earlier this month when he acted on his oft-voiced opposition to the treaty by shelving it.
Australia was a key ally of the United States in the decade-long negotiations that led to the Kyoto treaty. It is a member of an "umbrella coalition" of industrialized countries, led by the United States, that has insisted on measures to ease the economic costs imposed by the treaty's stringent 5 percent cut below 1990 levels of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases thought to cause global warming.
Japan and New Zealand, two other members of the umbrella coalition, also signaled yesterday that they view U.S. participation in the global negotiations as crucial.
"We don't think about going ahead without the United States," said New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, in Tokyo for talks with Japan's foreign minister.
Japanese officials have expressed no interest in joining the European campaign to ratify the treaty without the United States, though Japan, like the European Union, wants the treaty ratified by next year. Strong opposition in the United States has cast that goal in doubt.
This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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