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EU-US summit to see trade move but no climate deal

Apr '07
Three days before the EU and the US meet to inject new energy into transatlantic relations, it looks likely that the two continents will fail to agree on climate change but transatlantic economic ties will be strengthened.

"The [EU-US] summit will not be a defining moment," the US ambassador to the EU, C. Boyden Gray, told journalists ahead of the meeting due on 30 April, when asked about the thorny issue of the fight against climate change.

Mr Gray admitted that Washington would not commit itself to any cap on greenhouse gas emissions, while stressing the US' ultimate condition remains to get emerging economies such as China and India – which he said would be the biggest polluters soon – on board as well.

The EU, which sees itself as a leader on environmental issues, has been pushing hard to engage the White House in a new framework to replace the Kyoto protocol, which runs out in 2012. US president George W. Bush pulled out of the Kyoto treaty in 2001, arguing it would hurt his country's competitiveness.

The two continents do not see eye to eye when it comes to ways in which to address this highly topical issue, however.

In Europe, the fight against climate change is closely linked to energy security, with renewable energy, such as solar, wind or biomass, expected to diminish the bloc's dependency on external energy sources, particularly from Russia. Recently, Moscow turned off the energy taps to Ukraine and Belarus, a move which also affected several EU states.

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