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Gore: US blocking progress in climate talks

Former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday the United States is "principally responsible" for blocking progress at the U.N. climate conference in Bali.
Al Gore
Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore addresses the UN Climate Conference Thursday in Bali, Indonesia.Dita Alangkara / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, saying his country was "principally responsible" for blocking progress at the U.N. climate conference, advised delegates Thursday not to get angry, but to wait for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

"Over the next two years, the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now," said Gore, who flew to the Bali meeting after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway on Monday.

"One year and 40 days from today, there will be a new inauguration in the United States," he said, speaking in a conference hall and by video to delegates throughout the conference site.

"I must tell you candidly that I cannot promise that the person who is elected will have the position I expect they will have, but I can tell you I believe it is quite likely."

The longtime climate crusader arrived as the Bali gathering entered a final two days of intensified negotiations over a final document whose prescriptions for greenhouse gas reductions have been opposed here by the administration of President Bush, which favors voluntary, not mandatory, cutbacks.

The draft document includes a suggestion that industrialized countries reduce emissions by between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020.

'We can't afford to wait'
"My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali," Gore said, to enthusiastic applause.

"Targets must be a part of the treaty," he said.

He noted that the U.S. Congress is moving legislation forward to impose binding emissions caps in the United States for the first time in legislation that may be vetoed by Bush, if passed.

Many U.S. cities also are taking their own actions paralleling the Kyoto Protocol, the current agreement, rejected by the United States, governing emissions reductions by industrial nations, he said.

Gore told the delegates, from almost 190 nations, they have two choices here.

"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."

Gore, who helped in the final negotiation of the Kyoto pact in 1997, also called for implementing a successor agreement to Kyoto two years early, in 2010. The first implementation period of the Kyoto pact expires at the end of 2012.

"We can't afford to wait another five years," he said.