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Switzerland determined to reach future agreement on world climate

Switzerland's leading environmental official, Philippe Roch, expressed disappointment after the summit.

(Keystone / Edi Engeler)

Switzerland has signalled its determination to push for a global agreement on climate change, after a United Nations conference in The Hague ended in failure.

After tough negotiations between 185 countries represented in The Hague, the Dutch minister for the environment, Jan Pronk, announced that it had been impossible to hammer out a manifesto on how best to reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions globally.

In an interview with the Swiss newspaper, SonntagsZeitung, the head of the Swiss delegation, Philippe Roch, said: "Nature is already in a bad state. Now that we've failed to reach a political agreement, the situation is even worse".

However, Roch also told the paper that on Saturday, the final day of the conference, "all parties seemed to agree that some progress had been made". He added that the process to reduce CO2 emissions, which had started at the environmental summit of Kyoto in 1997, would continue.

Roch was careful not to point the finger at any particular country for the collapse of the summit in The Hague. "We are all at fault. We all fell short of reaching common ground on bringing about a solution.

"But one does have to say that Switzerland has been behaving in an exemplary fashion. We've already taken concrete steps to cut CO2 emissions and would be in a position to ratify the Kyoto Protocol immediately".

Since May 1, a law has been in force to reduce CO2 emissions in Switzerland by 10 per cent by the year 2010, compared with the level of 1990.

When asked if the Swiss parliament would approve a bill in 2004 to levy a tax on CO2 fuel emissions, Roch said: "I can't answer this yet. What I can say is that the government, industry and the transport sector have already begun looking for ways to achieve our CO2 targets on a voluntary basis".

swissinfo with agencies


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