U.S. EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman said yesterday that the Kyoto treaty on climate change was dead and that the European Union and Japan would have to take a new approach if they wanted to reach an agreement on the issue. She said, “No, we have no interest in implementing that treaty.” The White House has been exploring how the U.S. can legally withdraw its signature from the landmark international agreement reached in 1997. Former President Clinton signed the treaty, but never submitted it to the Senate for ratification, where it almost certainly would have been killed. Under the treaty’s terms, the U.S. would have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Whitman’s comments will likely stun European officials, who in the last week have practically begged President Bush to restart talks on implementing Kyoto. Earlier this month, Whitman signed a formal declaration with environmental ministers from other industrialized nations pledging to move forward on the treaty.

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