US and EU step up cooperation on climate change

Europe and the United States will boost cooperation on climate change, presidents George Bush and Jose Manuel Barroso announced at the EU-US summit in Vienna on Wednesday.

Side-stepping the contentious issue of the Kyoto Protocol, which George Bush had refused to sign arguing it would hurt the US economy, the two sides announced a new high-level dialogue on climate change, clean energy and sustainable development.

Although the Vienna Summit Declaration does not set any emission target cuts, it does refer extensively to cutting greenhouse emissions.

It commits the two sides to cooperation on the development of cleaner energy sources, including renewables and on improving energy efficiency. More specifically it commits to cooperation on increasing biofuel use and on the development of technologies for hydrogen fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and energy efficient buildings.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said: “We have agreed to establish a European Union and United States high-level dialogue on climate change, clean energy, sustainable development, to address ways to get cost-effective emission cuts, development and employment of new technologies, efficiency and conservation, renewable fuels and other environmental issues such as biodiversity.”

The US – responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions – needs to develop renewables to end its dependency on oil, George Bush said:

“The truth of the matter is, we got to diversify away from oil. And the best way to do it is through new technologies. And we agreed we would share technologies between our nations and between the EU and the United States.”

The process of cooperation on energy will undergo an annual strategic review.

Goska Romanowicz

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