The sharp rebuff leaves egg on the face of the UK leader and is the latest example of how Mr Blair does not have the ear of his apparent close friend US President George Bush when it comes to energy matters.

Mr Blair said: I believe there will be a binding international agreement to succeed Kyoto when the protocol expires in 2012 that will include all major economies. Without directly saying it, the UK PM was clearly suggesting the US, the largest producer of harmful emissions in the world, was included in his forecast.

However Mr Watson, while attending an environment conference in Canada as the US representative, said: We would certainly not agree that the US would be part of a legally binding targets and timetable agreement post-2012.

In blowing out Blair’s prediction of a new era of co-operation, Mr Watson criticized the EU policy as disastrous for the US economy if it was implemented across the Atlantic. Meanwhile, despite being portrayed as an opponent to vital environmental measures, Mr Watson said that the Bush administration had done more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than the EU.

This however flies in the face of new United Nations figures, quoted by the Age, which show that the US has increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 13% over 1990 baseline levels, while EU emissions have decreased by 1.4%.