Pelosi Inscrutable on G8 Climate Agreement

BERLIN, Germany, May 29, 2007 (ENS) - Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi declined here Monday to say whether the United States would back Germany's strong position on global warming at next week's G8 summit.

Pelosi held talks Monday with German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel on the first stop of a European tour she is making, accompanied by a bi-partisan delegation.

After meeting with Pelosi Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would stand firm on the need for binding targets to combat global warming, despite U.S. objections.

Greenpeace Saturday published a leaked document showing that the United States has raised "serious, fundamental concerns" about a proposed global warming declaration prepared by Germany for agreement at the G8 summit.

In the declaration, Germany proposes to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050. This level of cuts is called for by scientists who say they are necessary to avert the worst consequences of global warming.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in the Chancellor's office. May 29, 2007. (Photo courtesy Office of the Chancellor)
After meeting with Merkel, Pelosi, a Democrat, called for "global and sustainable solutions" to halt climate change, including making greater use of advanced technology, a position also endorsed by the Bush administration.

Pelosi said she agrees with Merkel that climate change "solutions must be multilateral." She praised Merkel's "extraordinary leadership" in addressing global warming.

Merkel told parliament last week that she is not sure a climate agreement can be reached at the G8 summit to cover the period after the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions expires in 2012.

The United States did not ratify the Kyoto accord although all the other members of the G8 have done so.

The Bush administration document rejects the idea of setting mandatory greenhouse gas emissions limits, as well as language calling for G8 nations to raise overall energy efficiencies by 20 percent by 2020.

The G8, or Group of Eight, nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The European Commission also attends G8 meetings. Germany currently holds the Presidency of the European Union.

With a week to go before the three day G8 summit, which opens June 6, senior officials of the G8 nations will hold a new round of negotiations this week in an attempt to resolve last-minute differences.

Pelosi told reporters her journey to Europe began with a fact-finding visit to Greenland where she said the delegation "saw first-hand evidence that climate change is a reality. There is just no denying it," she said.

In 2006, Greenland experienced more days of melting snow and at higher altitudes than average over the past 18 years, according to a new NASA funded study using satellite observations. Findings released today show Greenland's melting snow can have a major impact on the vast ice sheet and on sea levels around the world.

Pelosi, who has just established a new House committee on energy, said she wants to find "common ground" with the Bush administration on issues of energy and climate change.