EU Gives Surprise Welcome to Climate Proposal

U.S. proposal to count new forests as "sinks" that soak up greenhouse gases viewed as positive first step towards climate agreement.

Published: 15-Nov-2000

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Europe gave a surprise welcome on Wednesday to a controversial U.S. proposal to count new forests as "sinks" that soak up greenhouse gases, raising the chances of a deal on global climate change.

The 15-member European Union had been expected to oppose the U.S. plan as an easy get-out that would undermine a 1997 United Nations agreement to cut pollution from industry and transport by specified amounts, country by country.

Instead the chief negotiator for the EU's executive Commission, Jos Delbeke, welcomed it as a positive first step in a conference at The Hague, where 180 countries are meeting to thrash out rules on a global bid to reduce greenhouse gases.

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