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G8 climate change warm-up

Kyle James May 29, 2007

TEXT OF INTERVIEWMARK AUSTIN THOMAS: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just led a Congressional delegation to Greenland. She says she saw “firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality.” Today she meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany is the site for next week’s G8 summit and global warming will be one of the agenda items. Kyle James is our Marketplace Berlin correspondent. I asked him if Pelosi’s visit highlights tensions over global warming between the U.S and many of the other G8 nations.

KYLE JAMES: Yeah, I mean half of the G8 is in the European Union and these countries earlier this year agreed on a set of binding targets to curb climate change. And Japan actually, also another G8 member, has taken the lead in Asia and is really pushing stricter emissions controls.

THOMAS: Specifically what is it that Merkel wants from the U.S.?

JAMES: Well Germany’s put forward a draft statement and it’s fairly detailed. It calls for trying to achieve a limit in global temperature rises this century to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. And then the ultimate goal would be to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

THOMAS: I know that representatives from both the U.S. and Germany are set to meet and try and hammer out an agreement before the summit. What do you think the odds are that some kind of compromise will be reached?

JAMES: It’s not very likely. It’s quite unusual that these high-ranking representatives meet just before a summit like this to try to reach an agreement so I mean there is some movement going on, but Chancellor Merkel and other high-ranking officials here are really playing down the likelihood of any agreement being reached.

THOMAS: What are some of the other items on the G8 summit for next week?

JAMES: Well the big one is Africa aid. Two years ago Tony Blair released a big program and announced a big plan to double aid to Africa and to wipe out a lot of debt. Two years later, aid activists are saying nothing is happening. And so Angela Merkel has said she’s going to try to get some movement and some momentum back into the Africa aid programs.

THOMAS: Marketplace Berlin correspondent Kyle James.

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