U.S. not all bad on climate change, lawmakers say

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The United States might have earned global ire for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but not every American is a climate villain, U.S. lawmakers and activists at climate talks in Bali say.

Rep. Edward J. Markey and 10 House committee chairmen, in a letter to a top U.N. figure at the Bali talks, highlighted what they said was the willingness of the U.S. Congress and voters to act against a policy of delay adopted by the administration of George W. Bush.

"As world leaders and the United Nations meet in Bali to plan a future without global warming, the world must know that President Bush's avoidance of action is not the status quo here in America," said Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

"With Congress, the states, cities, and Americans from coast to coast looking to act immediately on global warming, the international community must know they have significant support here in the United States," he said in the letter to Yvo de Boer, the head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat.

"In total, 55 percent of the U.S. population lives in a state that has already established rigorous mandatory greenhouse gas reduction targets," the Massachusetts Democrat added.

Among the House committee leaders supporting the letter were Tom Lantos of the Foreign Relations Committee; Henry A. Waxman, Oversight and Government Reform Committee; and George Miller, Education and Labor Committee.

A U.S. youth delegation met their government's negotiating team in Bali on Wednesday to demand tougher action against global warming.

The United States is the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases and says Kyoto is a failure because it doesn't commit big developing nations such as China and India to emissions targets.

The meeting in Bali, involving about 190 nations, aims to initiate a two-year dialogue leading to a broader climate pact by 2009 to replace or upgrade Kyoto.

U.S. youth delegation member Richard Graves said the State Department team did not offer much hope for the negotiations in Bali.

"The best we could get from them was that nothing is off the table," he told a small gathering at the conference.

"The youth represent the future of the United States and not the past and this delegation doesn't have very long left and represents the past."

A report released on Tuesday by the U.S.-based National Environmental Trust says many individual U.S. states release more greenhouse gas emissions than entire groups of developing countries.

Wyoming, the most sparsely populated state in the U.S. with only 510,000 people, emits more carbon dioxide than 69 developing countries that are home to 357 million, it said. -- For Reuters latest environment blogs click on:

Editing by Alex Richardson