- The Washington Times - Monday, September 2, 2002

MAPUTO, Mozambique Prime Minister Tony Blair rebuked the United States last night for failing to lead the world in fighting global warming and for withdrawing from the Kyoto climate-change treaty.
Mr. Blair, speaking in Mozambique before his arrival in Johannesburg for the final stage of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, said he would begin a scientific study aimed at persuading the United States and other critics that it would be economically advantageous to join the Kyoto treaty.
The United States is trying to remove all mention of it from the summit's 30,000-word plan of action. But Mr. Blair, firmly committing himself to the aim of reducing greenhouse gases, said yesterday that the treaty did not go far enough.
"Yet it is, at present, the most that is politically doable," he said. "And even then, the largest nation, the U.S., stands outside it."
Underlining his most outspoken criticism of U.S. policy on global warming, he said: "What is truly shocking is not the scale of the problems. The truly shocking thing is that we have the remedies," he said.
"Where the wealthy countries have acted, it has made a difference. It is a matter of political will and leadership. If we wanted to answer the challenge of environmental pollution, we could."
In contrast, Mr. Blair said he believed "passionately" that Britain should give leadership on two world issues: the plight of Africa and the destruction of the environment.
Without the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago, the issue of climate change would not have made it to center stage, and without the recent Monterrey, Mexico, conference, wealthy countries would not have come up with an extra $12 billion in aid, Mr. Blair said.
He said that the Montreal protocol on ozone-damaging chemicals succeeded in cutting emissions of chlorofluorocarbons by 95 percent in 15 years and that the ozone hole was measurably diminishing as a result.
Mr. Blair said that in an increasingly interdependent world, national interests and those of the global community go together. In fact, the Kyoto treaty, even if implemented, would deliver a reduction of 1 percent in global emissions; to reduce the effect of climate change, cuts of 60 percent are needed.
Mr. Blair said it would "help enormously" in securing support for the treaty "if we had a far clearer and deeper knowledge of how science and technology could help in energy production and use, of how market incentives could play a part in changing behavior and how business could not just survive but prosper on the back of good environmental policy."


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