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International Energy Environment Session Opens in London


Leading energy and environmental officials from the developed and developing world are meeting in London to discuss strategies aimed at combating global warming, while at the same time sustaining economic growth.

During its current presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries, Britain is targeting the growing threat of global warming. And as part of that effort, members of the richest nations along with representatives from emerging economies like China, India and Brazil are meeting in London to swap ideas and strategies on how to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses worldwide.

One of the ways of making progress is seen though greater international investment in environmentally friendly technologies.

Among those in attendance is James Connaughton, the head of President Bush's Council on Environmental Quality. Interviewed on British radio, Mr. Connaughton said ahead of the meeting that while the U.S. did not ratify the Kyoto Agreement on reducing carbon dioxide levels, the Bush administration would like to see more money being channeled into research into boosting green technologies so that economies can grow without damaging the environment.

“The protocol was well intentioned but I think it produced some quite consequential unintended effects and we are now trying to find a portfolio in which three words are important: technology, technology, and technology and to find the common ground that exists actually not just in the developed world but also with the developing countries who are going to be represented at today's meeting,” said Mr. Connaughton.

As James Connaughton said, the U.S. position favors energy efficiency, not a radical shift to a low carbon economy.

“I think what is happening not just in the U.S., but also in Europe and in other parts of the world, is you are beginning to see smarter strategies toward bringing those together,” he added. “I hear frequently from my European counterparts, the notion that many choices we can make will actually be profitable. We agree with that so, let us pursue the measures in the near term that, in fact, will reduce these impacts profitably and let us set aside the ones that cause a dramatic economic harm and then we will advance forward in a step-wise fashion.”

Environmental groups like Greenpeace counter that much more needs to be done now to confront what they call the massive threat global warming will pose to future generations.

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