US balks at Bali carbon targets

The UN climate talks seeking a new pact on global warming hit a potential problem on Monday when the United States said it was unwilling to approve a draft agreement setting firm targets for cuts to carbon pollution.

The United States said a proposal for developed nations to reduce emissions by 25 to 40% by 2020, which is backed by Britain and the
European Union, was "totally unrealistic" and "unhelpful". Other nations, including Japan, are believed to be against the idea.

The US said it was in Bali to be "constructive" and wanted the meeting to agree a road map to a new agreement, which would be concluded by 2009. But it said it would not agree a firm target, presented either as an emissions reduction or as a maximum temperature rise.

European negotiators argue such a target is needed to reflect the urgency of the problem and to encourage industry to invest in green

In an unusual step, the UN published the text of the four-page draft agreement, based on the first week of informal discussions, on its
website over the weekend. It will now be argued over by the 190 countries present.

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