From: Associated Press
Published March 19, 2007 12:00 AM

U.S. Objects to Key Points at Climate Change Meeting, German Official Says

BERLIN -- The United States objected to key parts of a discussion on climate change at a meeting between G-8 environmental officials and representatives from five influential developing nations, Germany's environment minister said.

The conference ended with consensus on several points, including a general acceptance of the scientific explanation for the causes of global warming and that industrialized nations need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions more than mandated by current agreements, said German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who hosted the meeting Saturday.

Officials also agreed that industrialized countries have been responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions in the past and for the need to help developing countries control their emissions today, Gabriel said.

But the U.S. spoke out against a global carbon emissions trading plan and recognizing reforestation programs in developing nations as part of the fight against global warming, he said.

"We find that very regrettable," he said.

The U.S. -- responsible for about one-quarter of the world's greenhouse gases that scientists blame for global warming -- rejected the 1997 Kyoto protocol, a U.N. treaty that requires 35 industrial nations to cut greenhouse gases by an average of 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

The Bush administration argues the Kyoto protocol would hurt the U.S. economy and objects that high-polluting developing nations like China and India are not required to reduce emissions. Instead, the White House says it is spending almost $3 billion a year on energy-technology research and development to combat climate change.

Stephen Johnson, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, stressed the need for input from financial experts in climate change talks.

"We believe that it's important that there be a number of tools to use in the toolbox of addressing global climate change and we also agreed that as environment ministers we're not finance ministers," he said.

Saturday's talks between the Group of Eight industrialized nations -- joined by China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa -- were a precursor for a meeting of G-8 leaders in the Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm in June.

Source: Associated Press

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