EU greets US proposal for climate change forum in April
The European Union on Monday welcomed US President Barack Obama's invitation to a climate change forum for the world's major economies as well as his change in policy from his predecessor, who was criticized for obstructing anti-global-warming initiatives, reported dpa.
EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said during a visit to Beijing that the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate next month in Washington - which the United States, 16 other major economies and the United Nations are to attend - was a good proposal "in which we recognize the new position of the Obama administration."
Many discussions must be held before the planned conclusion of a new climate protection treaty at the end of the year in Copenhagen so every meeting on the topic is welcome, Ferrero-Waldner said.
Climate change is playing an important role in the EU diplomat's visit to the Chinese capital, and she said the change in the US government's policy was making it easier to talk with the Chinese about the topic.
China, which along with the United States is the world's largest greenhouse-gas emitter, had continuously said under US president George W Bush that the countries that had industrialized early had a bigger responsibility in reducing the emissions that cause global warming and Washington must take part in initiatives to reduce the pollutants.
The European Union wants to work with China on improving its energy efficiency and implementing more environmentally sound ways to burn coal, from which China gets three-quarters of its electricity.
The Washington meeting is set for April 27-28, ahead of December's UN climate change negotiations in Denmark. The list of invitees includes China and India, countries left out of the Kyoto Protocol and from which Obama has said he wants to see tough commitments.
Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa are also invited. Denmark is also included as host of December's talks.
Obama's administration on Sunday will enter the complex world of global climate talks at a two-week meeting in Bonn, Germany, kicking off the advance work for Copenhagen. The talks come amid a furious debate back home about whether the United States should be placing limits on the pollutants that cause global warming.