Merkel wants China, US in new treaty after seeing melting Greenland glacier

17th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

17 August 2007, COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Greenland for a firsthand look at a diminishing glacier, said China and the United States must be part of a new deal replacing the Kyoto Protocol limiting greenhouse gases news media said Friday.

17 August 2007

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Greenland for a firsthand look at a diminishing glacier, said China and the United States must be part of a new deal replacing the Kyoto Protocol limiting greenhouse gases news media said Friday.

Merkel and German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel arrived Thursday in Ilulissat, on Greenland's west coast, where the nearby Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, a U.N. heritage site, has thinned in recent years in what scientists say is one of the most glaring signs of global warming.

"It made an impression on me to see the icebergs and hear that the glacier has (retracted) 15 kilometers in six years," Merkel told a news conference late Thursday, Greenland's Sermitsiaq newspaper said.

Scientists worry that the melting ice sheet on the semiautonomous Danish territory will cause the global sea level to rise, with potentially disastrous effects on low-lying areas.

Merkel spoke after a boat trip on the fjord with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Greenland Premier Hans Enoksen.

"Our joint ambitious goal is to have a new, worldwide climate agreement decided which should go into force in 2012 when the present (text) expires," Merkel said, according to Greenland Radio KNR's Web site. "And the United States and China must also be part of it."

The two countries are the world's largest emitters of C02, the greenhouse gas that causes global warming.

Merkel, whose country held the European Union presidency until June and still chairs the Group of Eight industrialized nations, has been prominent in the push for action in agreeing on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol agreement, which expires in 2012.

Denmark hopes a new climate deal to replace the Kyoto agreement will be decided at a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009.

"Germany and Denmark are strong allies," Fogh Rasmussen said at the news conference, according to Sermitsiaq's Web edition. "Greenland is a living proof of the climate changes and that quick action is demanded."

Before heading back to Berlin on Friday Merkel and Gabriel would go on a helicopter tour to see more glaciers in the area.

At the German-hosted G-8 summit in June, leaders agreed to seriously consider proposals to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 50 percent by 2050 – nonbinding language that was a compromise between the EU, which wants mandatory cuts, and the United States, which opposes them.

Merkel plans to follow up her visit to Greenland with trips to fast-rising economic power and polluter China, and fellow G-8 member Japan, at the end of this month.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso visited the same area of Greenland in June.

AP

Subject: German news

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