Financial Meltdown Could Complicate Climate Talks | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 30.09.2008
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Financial Meltdown Could Complicate Climate Talks

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has warned that the global financial turmoil could derail international climate change agreements.

Polar bears

Many people are more concerned about money markets than polar bears

Steinmeier predicted that countries will be tempted to shift focus away from climate change in the face of an ongoing market crisis.

"The collapse of a bank is more visible and tangible, and media pressure to act is bigger than it is in a process which is less visible but which has more sustained and long-term effects, such as climate change," he said Tuesday, Sept. 30, at a Berlin conference on transatlantic cooperation.

Steinmeier and other European leaders have been pushing for an agreement by the end of 2009 to follow the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012.

US cooperation seen as key

Countries need to find a way forward, even if it is difficult, Steinmeier said.

"There's no alternative," Steinmeier said. "But the already difficult conditions have become even more difficult through the current situation."

Steinmeier said that he hoped the next US government will not be sidetracked by economic concerns and will focus on reaching an international agreement on both climate and energy issues.

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