EU, U.S. Trade Barbs On Climate

NUSA DUA, Indonesia -- The European Union threatened on Thursday to boycott U.S. talks among top greenhouse gas emitting nations, accusing Washington of blocking goals for fighting climate change at UN talks in Bali.

"If we would have a failure in Bali it would be meaningless to have a major economies' meeting" in the United States, Humberto Rosa, Portugal's secretary of state for environment, said on the penultimate day of the two-week talks.

"We're not blackmailing," he said, ratcheting up a war of words with Washington at the talks. "If no Bali, no [major emitters' meeting]."

Portugal holds the rotating EU presidency and Rosa is the EU's top negotiator in Bali.

"We don't feel that comments like that are very constructive when we are working so hard to find common ground on a way forward," said Kristin Hellmer, a White House spokeswoman in Bali.

Washington, long at odds with many of its Western allies on climate policies, has called a meeting of 17 of the world's top emitters, including China, Russia and India, in Hawaii late next month to discuss long-term cuts. U.S. President George W. Bush intends the Honolulu meeting to be part of a series of talks to feed into the Untied Nations process.

The EU wants Bali's final text to agree on a nonbinding goal of cuts in emissions of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 for industrial economies as a "roadmap" for the talks.