U.S. to label products that impact global warming
Belgium The head of the EU's European Environment Agency challenged the United States on Tuesday to publish environmental
data so people could compare the green credentials of the world's two biggest trading blocs.
Domingo Jimenez-Beltran said the United
States might lead the world in tackling air pollution but was trailing far behind on energy conservation and climate change
and that the public should be aware of the facts.
"It's important to benchmark the (European)
Union against the United States," Jimenez-Beltran said at a news conference where he unveiled the agency's latest annual environmental
The head of the EEA the EU body responsible
for compiling environmental data was scathing about President Bush's plans to increase energy production and said consumers
worldwide should be made more aware of the poor U.S. record on energy conservation.
"Bush is saying 'we need more energy',
but he doesn't say that the United States uses 70 percent more energy per million dollars (generated by the economy) than
the EU," Jimenez-Beltran said.
The fact that gasoline costs half as much
in the United States as in Europe could almost be considered economic "dumping," he said, because cheap energy meant U.S.
products cost less to make than those in the highly taxed EU.
Jimenez-Beltran suggested that products
should be labeled to show consumers if they were built in a country where energy efficiency was taken seriously or not.
Such a label should identify whether the
product was built in a country that respects the 1997 Kyoto agreement on reducing greenhouse gases the deal rejected by Bush
earlier this year.
"People should know if a product that uses
a lot of energy (when produced) comes from a country that's in the protocol (or not)," he said.
The EU's greenhouse gas emissions are down
four percent from 1990 levels, but U.S. emissions are up 11 percent, Jimenez-Beltran said, but added the EU could still miss
its Kyoto target of an eight percent reduction by 2012.
The EEA report, a snapshot of the state
of Europe's environment, showed the biggest environmental challenges were the growing demand for transport and energy and
tackling an ever-growing mountain of waste.
Jimenez-Beltran said to tackle these problems
the EU should look at harmonizing energy taxes, particularly on petrol, and introduce tax on aviation fuel which is currently
tax free everywhere in the world.