Obama touts climate change bill in meet with Merkel
The bill's passage would give the United States greater leverage when it enters into global climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.Washington -- US President Barack Obama, joined by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, touted a climate change bill being debated by Congress Friday as representing "enormous progress" but said more needed to be done.
"I'm the first one to acknowledge that the United States over the last several years has not been where we need to be," Obama said at a White House news conference after meeting with Merkel.
But he said the bill before the House of Representatives that would create a "cap and trade" system to curb emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming "indicates enormous progress from where we have been."
With a vote expected later in the day, Obama, top aides and senior Democratic leaders have been intensely lobbying to ensure the bill's passage in the face of opposition from Republicans, who warn it will send energy prices soaring and kill US jobs.
The bill's passage would give the United States greater leverage when it enters into global climate change talks in Copenhagen in December after shunning the issue for years under the presidency of George W. Bush.
Careful not to comment directly on the US legislation, Merkel said she was gratified by Obama's total commitment to the climate change issue and to making the Copenhagen conference a success.
Obama said the United States had to work with industrialized countries like Germany and with the world's emerging economies, where rapid growth will translate into rising greenhouse emissions, to get an international framework in place to deal with global warming.
"Europe, in many ways over the last several years, has moved more rapidly than the United States on addressing this issue," Obama said.
"And I've been very blunt and frank with Chancellor Merkel that we are still working through creating the framework where we can help lead the international effort," he said.
"If we can get the framework in place, I'm confident the United States can be an important partner in this process," he said.