EU presses climate case with Asians ahead of G8 meet

Hamburg, Germany, May 29 | Updated: May 30 2007, 06:07am hrs
EU foreign ministers urged Asian countries on Tuesday to join the fight against climate change after hearing China argue that protecting the environment had to be balanced by the right to develop.

Germany is leading a push to try to persuade a reluctant United States to follow the European lead ahead of a June 6-8 summit of the Group of Eight industrialised countries.

"We need the Asians as well," said a spokewoman for EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. "Global warming is something that is global and we need all continents participating in the post-Kyoto plan."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the G8 to agree concrete steps to halt global warming that would prepare the ground for an extension of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.

The 27-nation EU has agreed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, challenging industrialised and developing countries to go further with a 30 percent cut which the EU would then match.

After talks with EU ministers in Hamburg on Monday, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said climate change had not been created by developing countries and a balance had to be struck between the right to develop and the environment.

He said China had set targets for reducing emissions and introduced laws to encourage energy-saving and efficiency and would welcome more transfer of clean technology from the developed world. The 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations says its members need time but action is needed on global warming.

"I think we should now try to find a way to try and bring about some measurable results," Asean Secretary General Ong Keng Yong told reporters. "If we go on arguing about whether this number or this standard is fair or not far we will never agree on what to do, and in the meantime the earth is getting warmer and more things are happening."