Gore Urges Bali Talks to Go Ahead without US

NUSA DUA ~ Former US vice president Al Gore called on Thursday on the deadlocked world conference on climate change to forge a deal without the United States, accusing Washington of obstructing progress in the talks.

The newly awarded Nobel laureate told delegates that they can leave an “open space” in their framework and hope it will eventually be filled by President George W. Bush’s successor.

“I am not an official and I am not bound by diplomatic niceties,” said Gore, who narrowly lost to Bush in 2000.

“So I am going to speak an inconvenient truth: My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali,” the new Nobel peace prize laureate said to applause.

“You can feel anger and frustration and direct it at the United States of America. Or you can make a second choice, you can decide to move forward and do all of the difficult work that needs to be done and save a large open blank space in your document and put a footnote by it.”

“Change is possible,” he said, pointing to Australia’s ouster of conservative John Howard and its election of Kevin Rudd, who immediately ratified the Kyoto Protocol for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions.

More than 180 countries had until Friday to agree a framework for negotiations that will culminate in a pact for tackling global warming past 2012, when pledges under the Kyoto Protocol expire.

The talks were mired over a dispute over whether industrial countries should give an early indicator of how far they are willing to cut their own emissions.

The European Union (EU), backed by developing countries, green groups and small island states, wanted a reference by industrialized countries that a cut of 25-40 percent in their emissions by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, will be a guideline for those talks.

It says these figures are essential for showing rich nations are serious about making concessions to fix a problem that they created and have the most resources to address.

The United States is opposed to the figures as prejudging the future negotiations, and delegates say its position is also shared by Japan, Canada and Russia.

“We must leave here with a strong mandate,” said Gore.

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