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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

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Mayors snub Bush and sign up to Kyoto protocol

Paul Brown

LONDON: Mayors from across the U.S. are signing up to an initiative to get American cities to meet the U.S.'s Kyoto environmental target which U.S. President George W. Bush repudiated: cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 7 per cent by 2010.

The response has astounded the scheme's founder, Seattle's Mayor, Greg Nickels, who persuaded eight other Mayors to write on March 30 to 400 colleagues across the country.

Dozens of cities have since contacted his office with the total reaching 134 in 35 States.

The Mayors who have signed up represent 29.3 million people. Although most are Democrats some 12 big cities with Republican Mayors, representing 8 million people, have joined, including New York city. Mr. Nickels is a Democrat but he said his campaign was non-partisan.

``This campaign has clearly touched a nerve with the American people,'' he said. ``The climate affects Democrats and Republicans alike. Here in Seattle we rely on the winter snow for our drinking water and hydro-electricity but it is disappearing; in Florida they have had hurricanes; in California they have had unseasonal heavy rain. Our weather patterns are changing.''

He said each city had a tough target of cutting its emissions by 7 per cent and each Mayor would choose ``a different path''. ``Conditions in Hurst, Texas are different to here in Seattle,'' he said ``but we both think we can do it.'' —

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

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