Tokyo:The United States is shifting tack and joining international efforts to fight global warming, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
US President George W Bush is a firm opponent of the Kyoto Protocol, which mandates curbs in greenhouse gas emissions, arguing the treaty is unfair as it makes no demands of fast-growing developing nations such as China and India.
“As there is a widely recognised perception and awareness of the international community on the urgency and significance of climate change, the United States is now, I think, changing,” Ban told Japan’s Asahi Shimbun.
Bush has invited the world’s major polluters to a 27-28September conference in Washington to discuss long-term goals on cutting gas emissions.
Ban will separately hold a meeting on climate change at the United Nations on September 24. The United States is “going to have another meeting immediately following my meeting here, but I am sure that the US initiatives and meetings will be part of this UN negotiating forum,” Ban said in the interview in New York.
The UN chief’s meeting is meant to prepare for December negotiations on the Indonesian island of Bali to draft a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.