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Rice met with German foreign minister Steinmeier in PotsdamImage: AP

Climate Clashes

DW staff/AFP (jp)
May 31, 2007

The issue of cutting greenhouse gases is set to prove divisive at the upcoming G8 summit. Sparks are already flying between US and Germany, as Washington accuses Berlin of intolerance towards other viewpoints.


US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice aimed a jab at Germany's environmental credentials Wednesday ahead of an expected showdown at next week's Group of Eight summit.

Rice said countries like Germany, which prides itself on its green image, should respect the US policy of looking to technology to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

"One has to wonder if you're really concerned about greenhouse gas emissions why you aren't interested in nuclear power," she told reporters at the end of a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in the eastern German city of Potsdam.

"We are interested in nuclear power and I know that's a controversial issue in some parts of Europe. But it just shows that there may be different solutions for different countries," she said.

Nuclear phase-out

Atomwirtschaft Symbolbild
Germany is phasing out nuclear powerImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Germany is implementing a gradual phase-out of its nuclear power plants, expected to be completed by around 2020.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has staked Germany's 12-month G8 presidency on hammering out a binding agreement between the leading industrial powers on limiting the emission of greenhouse gases.

But the chances of that happening at the summit of G8 leaders in Heiligendamm in northern Germany on June 6-8 look increasingly slim, with stark differences appearing between G8 nations on how to limit greenhouse gases.

Washington has strong objections to the proposed global-warming declaration prepared by Germany for the summit, according to reports, saying it is furious that it has not been consulted on the wording of the text.

Finding common ground

Symbolbild Erde EU Klima
Climate change is topping the agenda at the G8Image: DLR

And China and India -- two fast-developing nations that are essential to efforts to reduce harmful pollution -- have stressed this week that they are opposed to binding targets on cutting carbon emissions.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier took a more conciliatory approach in Potsdam, saying that he hoped to find common ground on environmental protection in Heiligendamm.

"We're seeking to achieve if not agreement then at least a closing of a gap between us. It's not an easy issue," he said. "As Europeans we are coming closer together on setting limits and benchmarks. Other people are banking on technological solutions. What is important is that in our international efforts we come closer together."

Wednesday's meeting was aimed at preparing the ground for next week's summit which the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States will attend.

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