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Merkel Urges Rich Nations to Keep Promise on Climate Change

Ahead of the Bali conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel Saturday, Dec. 1, urged the EU and G8 industrial nations to live up to promises on climate change. Her own country is ready to set an example, she said.

Angela Merkel holding a globe in her hands

Merkel: Time is running out to save the world

The EU and the G8 summit in Germany earlier this year "took international decisions to do more for climate protection," the chancellor said in her weekly podcast.

"In particular we need a successor agreement to the Kyoto protocol that expires in 2012," she said.

She said the UN Climate Conference starting in Bali on Monday needed to agree on a timetable so that negotiations on a follow-up agreement to Kyoto could be completed by the end of 2009.

The Kyoto protocol, which went into effect in 2005, requires industrial countries to reduce their carbon emissions by 2012. But the world's two top CO2 polluters, the United States and China, are not bound to fixed reductions under the pact.

Although the US signed the Kyoto protocol, it never ratified it. China's case is different: as a developing country, it was not bound by the protocol's emissions cap.

The aim of the Bali meeting, which runs until Dec. 14, is to gain consensus on a formal framework for reaching a new emissions-reduction pact over the next two years.

Setting an example

A melting iceberg in Greenland

Global warming is already taking its toll in the Arctic

"Every country has to decide for itself," Merkel said. "Germany is ready to set an example."

On Wednesday, the German cabinet is due to agree on a package of measures designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

"Time is running out," she said. "The International Climate Control Panel has warned that we have only until the middle of the century to reduce CO2 emissions by half."

A hot issue at Bali will be whether the US will join a new global treaty on climate change even if emerging economies like China and India continue to resist making cuts.

Although developed industrialized countries are blamed for 70 percent of the CO2 currently in the atmosphere, developing countries are expected to bear the brunt of suffering from the extreme weather conditions linked to global warming.

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