EU, US declare intent to cooperate on climate change at summit

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A European Union-United States summit held in Slovenia produced a draft declaration outlining the groups' future cooperation on climate change, energy security and financial stability. Yesterday was the final day of the summit, the last EU-US summit that US President George W. Bush will attend in his current role.

Group photo on June 10, 2008 at Brdo Castle near Kranj, Slovenia. From left are, Steve Hadley, U.S. National Security Advisor; Benita Ferrero-Waldner, commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy; European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso; US President George W. Bush; Slovenia Prime Minister Janez Jansa; European Union Secretary General Javier Solana and Dimitrij Rupel, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Hopes of a major breakthrough on the topic of climate change were low going into the summit. The foreign minister of Slovenia, Dimitrij Rupel, commented last week that, "on climate change, the positions are split." Members of the 27-nation EU have regularly expressed their dissatisfaction with the US for not having ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement with binding greenhouse gas emissions targets. Doubts about the summit's efficacy were not misplaced, as no firm targets were set for actions on climate change.

The EU and US agreed to cooperate increasingly in science and technology research for energy and climate change purposes, including carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen fuel cells. The EU reaffirmed its commitments as per the Kyoto Protocol, but the US restated that developing countries such as China and India must be made to sign up to such global agreements before it will sign on.

Steps to secure energy sources for the future were also discussed. Promoting the creation of multiple pipelines to supply more natural gas to Europe was determined a priority, despite the fact that this would encourage an increase in emissions from gas use.

Bush commented in a follow-up news conference: "I think we can get a global agreement on climate change during my presidency - just so you know."


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