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Al Gore praises German Chancellor Merkel for her work in fighting global warming

Al Gore praises German Chancellor Merkel for her work in fighting global warming

Former Vice President and Noble Peace laureate Al Gore praised Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday for her commitment to fighting global warming and working to find a successor to the Kyoto treaty.
Speaking before a short meeting with Merkel, Gore applauded the way the German leader has made fighting climate change a key theme not only of her government, but of Germany's European Union presidency earlier this year, as well as its current presidency of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.
"Chancellor Merkel is a strong voice of reason calling upon nations around the world to face up to the dangers and seize the opportunity" to find a solution, Gore said. "I, myself, am optimistic that we will see a big change in the way the world confronts this crisis and if it does change, it will be in no small part due to the leadership of Chancellor Merkel."
Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month along with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their work in calling attention to global warming.
Merkel congratulated Gore on his work, saying that climate change is "one of the biggest global challenges" facing people today.
The former Vice President met with Merkel ahead of giving his "An Inconvenient Truth" lecture to a climate conference hosted by German power company Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG. The film version of the environmental documentary won an Academy Award for Gore earlier this year.
The two took no questions after their short statements.
Merkel has been pushing for an international system of global emissions-trading to be part of an agreement to fight climate change after the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012.
Her suggestion includes making per-capita emissions of greenhouse gases the basis for future negotiations _ a proposal specifically designed to help bring on board developing countries such as China and India _ both among the world's heaviest producers of carbon dioxide and other polluting gases.
China signed the Kyoto Protocol but is exempt from emissions reductions because it is considered a developing country _ a situation often cited by the U.S. for its own refusal to ratify the treaty, which it says gives emerging industrial powers an unfair advantage.
Merkel has said using per-capita figures as a basis for talks would give poorer countries the room they need to grow their economies and lift more people out of poverty.
Still, her proposal of limiting carbon dioxide output to about 2 tons per person would mean serious cuts in most places around the world.
Germany currently emits 11 tons per person per year, and the United States about 20 tons, according to German government figures. China, by comparison, emits 3.5 tons of greenhouse gases per capita, despite fewer environmental controls, because of the country's large population. The worldwide figure is 4.2 tons per person.
New negotiations toward a successor agreement to Kyoto are slated to begin in December in Bali, Indonesia, and be completed by 2009.