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Clinton calls for Kyoto successor

As China topples US from number 1 on the pollution charts

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Bill Clinton has called on the international community to draw up and sign up to a successor to the Kyoto Protocol to tackle climate change.

Speaking at the Greenbuild Conference in Chicago on Wednesday, Clinton was clear on the need for action: "The sale's been made, otherwise Al Gore wouldn't have gotten the Nobel Prize," he noted. "Now what we have to do is...to prove that this is not a big bottle of castor oil that we're being asked to drink."

His speech came as a new report from the International Energy Agency reveals that China is set to overtake the USA this year as the world's largest CO2 polluter. The report also found that the continuing growth of the Chinese and Indian economies will drive demand for energy up 50 per cent by 2030.

The agency also warned of a price crisis in the near future, pointing to increasing demand for coal in developing nations, the West's continuing love affair with oil, alongside decreasing outputs from existing oil fields. It said: "A supply-side crunch in the period to 2014, involving an abrupt escalation in oil prices, cannot be ruled out."

Fatih Birol, the agency's chief economist, told The Times that the developed world had to act now to deal with the problem of runaway growth in demand for energy, and stop trying to blame developing nations. Developing nations have the right to grow, Dr Birol said, but that only added to the urgency for the west to get on top of its own energy needs.

Clinton also made reference to the role developing nations have to play in building a greener planet. If emerging superpowers did not learn from the mistakes of the west, he argued, we could be in for serious trouble:

"If the coming giants India and China and those coming behind them - Vietnam, Ukraine, all these emerging countries, if they insist on the old industrial society's patterns of energy use, it is true that the most calamitous consequences of climate change will occur," he said.

The ex-president said dealing with carbon emissions from our homes would be key to getting on top of our emissions, and that making our buildings greener, and cleaner, would have measurable benefits for health and the environment. ®

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