Heading for showdown

the us has criticised the European Union ( eu ) government's decision to seek limits on carbon emissions trading under the Kyoto global climate treaty. The us accused eu saying it was rewriting prior agreements. According to eu officials, they have decided on a common approach for international talks in June on controlling emissions of greenhouse gases. At a meeting in Wiemer, Germany, diplomats from the 15 eu states finalised the bloc's negotiating position after The Netherlands, Sweden and Finland dropped their earlier position where they were leading calls for the commission's tough approach to be watered down. "We now have a declaration on which everyone can agree,' an eu official told the news agency Reuters .

The December 1997 Kyoto accord on climate change allows signatory countries some flexibility in how to reach their targets for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and five other gases widely believed to be responsible for global warming. Under the Kyoto accord, the eu has to cut its 1990 emission levels of six greenhouse gases by 8 per cent between 2008 and 2012. Cuts are shared between the 15 eu members, depending on current pollution levels and their level of industrial development. Acting eu Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard wants to limit the use of so-called "flexible mechanisms'