Australia won a standing ovation today at the first day of climate talks in Bali as it approved the Kyoto Protocol to cut pollution. Australia's vote now leaves the US the only developed nation not to back the pact. The Kyoto Protocol calls for industrialized nations to cut emissions below 1990 levels. President Bush has insisted that climate change must occur “in a way that does not undermine economic growth."
Europe has already committed to a 20% reduction by 2020. Envoys at the two-week talks sponsored by the United Nations also plan to discuss the replacement to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The European Union favors binding emissions limits, while the US favors voluntary technological solutions, and critics fear an impasse. "The world is watching," said one official.