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Bush should be open to G8 climate plans

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday President George W. Bush should be open to plans to fight climate change at a G8 meeting and willing to move forward in new ways with his partners.

The leader of the opposition Democrats said she and a bipartisan delegation of congressional leaders had made a stop in Greenland and saw how global warming was threatening the livelihood of people who were not to blame. „We hope that we can all assume our responsibilities... and that our administration will be open to listening to why it is important to go forward, perhaps in a different way than we proceeded in the past,” Pelosi said.

Germany hosts the June 6-8 meeting of Group of Eight (G8) leaders that will focus on climate change. Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the club to agree steps to halt global warming to prepare the ground for an extension of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. Senior officials from G8 countries will meet again in Berlin tomorrow to try to pave the way for a deal for G8 leaders at the Heiligendamm summit, two European officials said yesterday. Bush and Merkel are also now planning a pre-summit meeting. Pelosi told journalists she would meet Merkel today „to personally congratulate her, and thank her, for her leadership”.

Merkel faces resistance from Washington, which refused to sign up to Kyoto and opposes binding emission cut targets despite UN reports warning of rising sea levels, droughts and floods linked to climate change. „This trip for us began in Greenland where we saw first-hand evidence that climate change is a reality,” Pelosi said. „There is just no denying it. We saw the impact on the local people there, on their hunting, their fishing, their economic survival. „And it wasn’t caused by the people in Greenland. It was caused by the behavior in the rest of the world.”

The United States, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide caused by burning fossil fuels that scientists say is nudging up global temperatures, has given no sign it is open to compromise at the G8 meeting. In fact, the United States wants key targets and timetables for combating global warming - including a pledge to halve emissions by 2050 - removed from a draft summit communiqué. „The science is clear, the challenge is undeniable,” Pelosi said. „We have to work together, though, to reach a solution.”

On Friday, Washington signaled its fundamental opposition to Germany’s G8 climate change position, according to a draft of a communiqué to be presented at the June 6-8 meeting. „We have tried to ‘tread lightly’ but there is only so far we can go given our fundamental opposition to the German position,” the US said in comments in the draft communiqué. The G8 is composed of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. (