August 30, 2007 / 11:05 AM / 10 years ago

Germany's Merkel urges U.S. to support climate deal

TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States must support a global deal to cut carbon dioxide emissions and combat climate change as time is running out in the fight against global warming, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

In a speech during her first visit to Japan as chancellor, Merkel said both developing and industrialized economies need to agree on specific targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

“I think America will cooperate -- America must cooperate. If we can’t find a regulatory regime that is accepted by the USA, then China and India will never agree to reduction targets,” she told participants of a conference organized by the Nikkei daily.

Many developing countries are worried that strict environmental regulations will hamper economic growth. They demand that industrialized nations, the chief polluters, bear the brunt of emission cuts.

Merkel suggested that as a compromise, developing countries should be allowed to increase their emissions per capita while industrialized national cut theirs, until both sides reach the same level.

Japan is hosting the next G8 summit in Hokkaido in 2008. Negotiators are aiming to hammer out a new climate pact by 2009, succeeding the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which Merkel helped draw up as Germany’s environment minister in 1997.

Merkel said detailed targets needed to be set soon if the world wants to slow global warming.

“The question is, how do we distribute (reduction targets) in the world? I don’t believe that it’s enough to just agree that everyone will do their best. I don’t believe that would yield an impressive result,” she said.

About 1,000 delegates from 158 nations are currently meeting in Vienna to discuss global warming. The United States’ chief climate negotiator in Vienna on Wednesday praised developing countries for their efforts to curb greenhouse gases, a marked shift from the U.S.’ usual call for big emitters such as China and India to do more to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

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