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Learning English - Words in the News
02 December, 2005 - Published 12:09 GMT
Spain's greenhouse gas problem
Smoke from a chimney

With a major international conference on climate change beginning this week in Montreal the Spanish government has admitted that it's embarrassed by the huge increase in the country's emission of greenhouse gases. This report from Chris Morris:

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The European Union was one of the main driving forces behind the Kyoto Protocol but it's struggling to meet its commitments. Spain has the worst record of all. Greenhouse gas emissions are up by more than forty percent in fifteen years.

In a BBC interview, the Spanish environment minister, Cristina Narbona, admitted that that was an embarrassment. We're all a bit ashamed, she said - much more needs to be done in Spain and across Europe. True to political form, she put the blame for Spain's dismal performance on the former government which left office last year. She spoke of the need for new ecological taxes, a rise in the price of electricity and a cultural revolution in the way companies and private citizens use energy.

She said the Spanish prime minister, Jose Luis Zapatero, was personally committed to the climate change agenda. But environmentalists warn that unless political leaders act on their promises, Spain and the EU in general will fail to meet their Kyoto targets by 2012.

Chris Morris, BBC News, Madrid

Listen to the words

one of the main driving forces behind
one of the biggest supporters of

the Kyoto Protocol
the agreements made at a meeting in the Japanese city of Kyoto for industrialised countries to reduce their release of gases which cause environmental damage

it's struggling to meet its commitments
it's finding it very difficult to do what it should do

said that it was true

True to political form
In a way that is typical of politicians - i.e. blaming a previous government for problems

very poor

left office
stopped being in power

the climate change agenda
the plans that have been made to take action to try and stop changes in the global weather caused by the release of certain gases

act on their promises
do what they agreed they would do

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