HEILIGENDAMM, Germany (Reuters) - The United States will refuse to agree to targets and timetables for cutting greenhouse gases at a summit of the Group of Eight starting on Wednesday, a senior adviser to President George W. Bush said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been pushing for an agreement at the June 6-8 meeting that global cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 are needed to curb global warming.
“At this point in time we are not prepared to adopt that proposal,” James Connaughton told reporters hours before a lunch between Bush and Merkel. He said he hoped the G8 would come up with a “common vision” rather than details of cuts.
Connaughton, the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said Bush was working on his own plan announced last week to get the top 15 greenhouse gas emitters to agree to cuts in emissions by the end of 2008.
“From the U.S. perspective we want agreement on that point, we want it within 18 months, so stay tuned,” he said. “We believe we need to get all the major emitting countries at the same table and lay down the different proposals.”
He added: “So we think we need to get all the ideas on the table and come up with a common vision, rather than at this point in time pick one or the other,” he added.
Connaughton said the United States also opposed a European Union goal of limiting temperature rises to a maximum 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, seen by the EU as the threshold for “dangerous” climate change.
“We have opposed the 2 degree temperature target, we are not alone in that — Japan, Russia, Canada and most other countries that I have spoken with do not support that as an objective for a variety of reasons,” he said.