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Bush Administration Undermining Successful Passage of Kyoto Climate Treaty?

WASHINGTON - World Wildlife Fund is urgently seeking clarification from the White House on its actions regarding other countries' ratification of the Kyoto Protocol following remarks by the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, last Friday.

President Bush gave a pledge last June at the EU-U.S. Summit, held in Gothenburg, Sweden, that the U.S. would not obstruct other nations from moving forward. This stance was reiterated in other Bush Administration statements last summer and autumn.

"President Bush promised EU Heads of Government last June that the United States would not obstruct other countries from moving forward with the Kyoto climate treaty," stated Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF's Climate Change Campaign. "If the reported statements of Ambassador Cellucci are true, these statements directly contradict that pledge."

According to Canadian news reports on January 26th in The Globe and Mail, Cellucci urged Canada not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol - the world's only agreement to limit global warming pollution from industrialized countries. Ambassador Cellucci was quoted as saying, "We just think that Kyoto is not in the interests of the United States or its economy and we don't think it's in the interests of the Canadian economy either."

Final details of the Kyoto treaty were concluded by over 170 countries, meeting in Marrakech, last November. All nations, except the United States, are considering ratifying the treaty this year. The Kyoto treaty requires industrialized nations to reduce their emissions of global warming gases five percent below the level of 1990 in the period 2008-2012. It has a good chance of finally becoming international law this year. This depends on ratification by leading polluting nations that accounted for 55 percent of the industrialized world's emissions of carbon dioxide in 1990.

"When it comes to halting global warming, Kyoto is the only game in town," said Jennifer Morgan. "It is bad enough that the United States, as the world's largest global warming polluter, has refused to participate in the global effort against this problem. Any possible attempts to torpedo progress by others is completely unacceptable."