NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore drew cheers at 190-nation talks by saying the United States was the main block to launching negotiations in Bali on a new global climate treaty.
Efforts to start two-year negotiations on a pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol flagged on Thursday, the penultimate day of the December 3-14 talks, after the European Union accused the United States of lacking ambition.
“I am going to speak an inconvenient truth,” Gore told an audience of several hundred, playing on the name of his Oscar-winning documentary.
And in low tones he added: “My own country the United States is principally responsible for obstructing progress in Bali,” spurring rapturous applause and cheers.
Arriving fresh from Oslo, where he had collected the Nobel Peace Prize, Gore urged governments to forge a “new path” towards a global climate change agreement in spite of what he described as an obstructive United States.
“I don’t know how you can navigate around this enormous elephant in the room which I’ve been undiplomatic enough to name. But I’m asking you to do it,” he said. Gore was defeated by President George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential race.
Other agreements in Bali could also help developing countries adapt to damage from climate change, curb their rising emissions of greenhouse gases and mark a step towards protecting tropical forests.
Rajendra Pachauri, who collected the Nobel Prize on behalf of a U.N. panel of climate scientists that shared the award with Gore, vaulted onto the podium to shake Gore’s hand.
Earlier on Thursday, the EU accused the United States of climate inaction, saying the rest of the world was still waiting for U.S. leadership, and threatened to boycott a U.S.-hosted climate meet of major economies next month.
The Bali talks are split over the guidelines for starting two years of formal negotiations on a deal to succeed Kyoto.
The EU wants a firm guideline of cuts of 25-40 percent in greenhouse gases by 2020 below 1990 levels, while the United States, Japan and Canada say figures would prejudge the outcome.
Gore stole the show in Bali after two days of lengthy ministerial speeches which had waxed on familiar themes about the urgency of action to slow global warming and the need for cooperation.
In a speech familiar to viewers of his film “An Inconvenient Truth” and to a global climate change lecture tour, Gore puzzled over a lack of urgency to fight climate change at Bali.
“There’s no precedent in history, culture for the radically new relationship between humanity and the planet,” he said, citing new evidence this week that the North Pole may be ice-free in summer as soon as 2012.
Gore counted one year and 40 days to the day the United States would have a new president to succeed George W. Bush. He predicted that a successor who would do more to act on global warming seriously. Gore has repeatedly said he has no plans to run.
Editing by Jeremy Laurence