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Bush Unveils Climate Change Proposal


President Bush will go to next week's Group of Eight Summit in Germany armed with a new proposal to combat global climate change. VOA's Paula Wolfson has details from the White House.

President Bush wants 15 major polluting countries to set a global goal by 2008 for reducing so-called greenhouse gases - emissions that warm the air and contribute to climate change.

"To help develop this goal, the United States would convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China," he said.

Mr. Bush says countries will then set their own mid-term targets. He says each nation will come up with an individual plan of action based on its own unique mix of resources and energy needs.

In a speech to a coalition of groups concerned with international development, the president said the U.S. wants to work with others. He emphasized America's willingness to share its technological know how.

"The way to meet the challenge of energy and global climate change is through technology. And the United States is in the lead. The world is on the verge of great breakthroughs that will help us become better stewards of the environment," he said.

President Bush talked about improvements in clean coal technology, and the development of plant-based fuels such as ethanol. He said the United States hopes to reach agreements with many countries this year to drop tariffs on clean energy technologies and services

"If you are truly committed to helping the environment, nations need to get rid of their tariffs; they need to get rid of those barriers that prevent new technologies from coming into their countries," he said.

Climate change is sure to be one of the dominant issues when the leaders of the eight largest industrialized nations meet next week for their annual summit. Host Germany has already proposed its own formula for international targets, which has been rejected by the Bush administration.

White House officials deny this latest announcement by the president is designed to blunt criticism of the United States at the G8. The U.S. refused to sign the last major international agreement on greenhouse gases - the Kyoto Protocol - which runs out in 2012.