( dpa ) - Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle called on climate officials from the world's biggest polluting countries to find common ground on combatting global warming, at the start of a US-hosted meeting on the Pacific island Wednesday.
"Success increases exponentially when working together," Lingle said. "Energy security and climate change demand nothing less."
Hawaii last year introduced a mandatory limit on greenhouse-gas emissions, something the administration of President George W Bush has opposed putting in place nationally. Many states in the US have sought to introduce their own stricter climate measures in place of federal action.
Lingle said she hoped people could learn from Hawaii's own tradition of taking care of its environment.
"It is appropriate you are in Hawaii for your meeting," she said, in a transcript posted on her website. "In Hawaii, our land and environment have great cultural significance."
The United States has invited 15 other primary polluters to the two-day Major Economies Meeting. The US has said the conference is designed to find common ground among major polluters, that could then filter into a wider United Nations-run process to reach a global deal.
A UN-hosted climate conference in Bali in December set out a plan for reaching a global deal by the end of 2009, in time for governments to ratify any agreement before the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
The so-called Bali road map was only agreed to by the United States after European nations threatened to boycott the Hawaii meeting. The Bush administration has argued for nations being allowed to develop their own plans to tackle climate change, rather than an internationally imposed target on limiting greenhouse-gas emissions that are blamed for global warming.
Environmental groups have voiced concern that the US gathering could be an effort to water-down the United Nations process - an attempt by the US to keep the discussion of climate change measures on its own terms.