Al Gore Blames US for Climate Change Deadlock in Bali

Former U.S. vice president and Nobel Laureate Al Gore blamed the United States on Thursday for blocking progress at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali. He urged delegates to forge ahead without the U.S. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins is in the Indonesian island of Bali and brings us this report.

In an impassioned hour-long speech interrupted many times by applause, former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore said the United States was stopping progress at the U.N. Climate Change talks in Bali.

"I am going to speak an inconvenient truth. My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali. We all know that. We all know that," he said.

The Bali talks are aimed at launching negotiations to replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

The United States strongly objects to a section in the draft document which asks industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by between 25 to 40 percent by 2020.

But the European Union and the vast majority of the delegates representing the 190 nations at the conference want the emission targets included to show that industrialized nations are serious about fighting global warming.

The United States, backed by Japan and Canada, say targets should come at a later date.

Earlier today, the head of the U.N. conference, Yvo de Boer, warned that the deadlock between the United States and the European Union over greenhouse gas emission targets could derail the conference

Al Gore called on delegates to go ahead and forge an agreement without the United States.

"You can do one of two things here. You can feel frustration and direct it at the United States of America, or you can make a second choice," said Gore. "You can decide to move forward and do all of the difficult work that needs to be done."

Gore told delegates the U.S. stance on climate change would likely change after the 2008 presidential elections.

"And during this upcoming two year period, there will be a national election in the United States. One year and 40 days from today there will be a new inauguration in the United States," he continued. "I must tell you candidly that I cannot promise that the person who is elected will have the position I expect they will have. But I can tell you that I believe it is quite likely."

Gore, who helped in the final negotiation of the 1997 Kyoto accord, said emission targets must be part of the so-called Bali road map.

In Washington, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino disputed Gore's accusations. She said his comments were not constructive and that the specific reduction number should be negotiated only after the Bali conference.

The 12-day conference is due to end Friday.