Leaders agree discussion on emission cuts

World leaders agreed to discuss targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions after 2012 following a breakthrough at a conference in Montreal last week.

Environmental campaigners feared that the future of the Kyoto protocol was in jeopardy at the UN conference. The USA walked out of talks on the penultimate night over the wording of a draft statement calling for international co-operation on the issue.

After all-night meetings, US negotiators shifted their position and a deal was reached. Global leaders agreed to review the protocol and the climate convention.

Environment secretary Margaret Beckett, who led the EU delegation, said: "The fact that we have all been bold enough to express our commitment so clearly despite various concerns is a cause for great optimism."

Friends of the Earth executive director Tony Juniper added: "Those who said that this level of agreement was impossible have been proved wrong."

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