Global Lawmakers Seek New Climate Accord

A group of global lawmakers signed a resolution Thursday urging a new agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions by 2009 to succeed the Kyoto protocol, which is set to expire in 2012.

The resolution reached after a two-day forum on global warming attended by lawmakers from about 20 countries, including members of Congress, urged the Group of Eight industrialized countries to commit to the 2009 deadline when they next meet in June.

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On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country holds the rotating presidencies of the G-8 and the European Union, outlined her priorities on global warming in a video address to the forum. Merkel has agreed to convene an international meeting on climate change in May to prepare for the G-8 summit in the German resort of Heiligendamm June 6-8.

Lawmakers attending the forum held on Capitol Hill said that after hearing from U.S. lawmakers who attended that they sensed a political shift in Washington toward greater cooperation with other countries on combatting global warming.

"I've detected a really quite remarkable change here on climate change," said Elliot Morley, a British member of Parliament who chaired the forum.

A senior State Department official told the attendees Thursday that the U.S. is committed to working with other countries on the issue.

"We share with other countries the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and introducing new, cleaner technologies," said State Department Undersecretary Paula J. Dobriansky.

Dobriansky outlined steps taken by the U.S. in reducing emissions but made no mention of the Kyoto treaty, which the U.S. has refused to endorse since it was negotiated in 1997.

President Bush has made clear that his administration will not agree to the kind of mandatory emission caps required under Kyoto because the administration believes the restrictions will harm U.S. businesses.

Thirty-five other industrial nations, who have endorsed the pact, agreed to cut their global-warming gases by 5 percent on average below 1990 levels by 2012.