Blair, Merkel Call for Climate-Change Summit in May

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday the moment was right to come up with new measures to combat global warming and vowed that the world's industrialized countries would push strongly this year for new emissions goals.

At a news conference after a meeting in Berlin, Merkel and Blair said they agreed to convene an international meeting on climate change in May to prepare for the Group of Eight summit in the north German resort of Heiligendamm June 6-8.

The May conference would seek to determine standards to continue from the Kyoto Protocols after 2012 — "what is our emissions goal, what are we striving for," Merkel said.

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Blair said concerns over the reliability of oil and gas supplies to Europe gave added urgency and political support to efforts toward a further agreement on climate change.

"I think here that we have a tremendous opportunity because people know we have both the issue of climate change and also the concerns over energy security," Blair said. "This is the right moment for us to look at both how we protect our environment, but also make sure we have a good and secure supplies of energy that we need in the years to come."

Details of the May meeting were still to be worked out.

The Kyoto Protocol, which has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below their 1990 level by 2012, exempts rapidly developing polluters such as China and India. That is a key reason why the United States, the No. 1 producer of greenhouse gases, did not join.

Blair stressed that winning countries such as China and India would be the only way to win over the United States as well.

The G-8 is Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United States, Canada and Japan.