By B. John Zavrel
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes the Nobel Prize winner Al Gore in Berlin. At the meeting in the Chancellery, both statesmen agreed to fight the global warming.
Berlin (bpb) The Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore received applause in Germany for his international engagement to fight the global warming. He met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 23, 2007 in the German capital. After the meeting, the former US Vice President praised Chancellor Angela Merkel for her commitment to fight the global warming and to work to find a successor to the Kyoto treaty.
Gore said: "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 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. She has shown the same power in her current presidency of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.
"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. "Merkel herself was impressed by Al Gore. She congratulated him on his work, saying that climate change is "one of the biggest global challenges" facing people today.
We must think about our children and grandchildren
After the meeting with Merkel, Gore was the keynote speaker at a climate conference held by the German energy giant EnBW in Berlin. Before some 300 guests, the former US vice president held the lecture, "The Inconvenient Truth," named after his Academy-award winning documentary which warns of the terrible consequences of failing to curb the effects of global warming. The film version of the presentation won an Academy Award for Gore earlier this year.
Gore said in remarks before his lecture, he would like all of the heads of state to gather at the U.N. in an emergency session in early 2008 to finalize the successor treaty, but acknowledged that such a meeting was unlikely. He further suggested the successor treaty go into effect in 2010, instead of 2012. "Our children and grandchildren depend on this sense of urgency", Gore said, pointing to recent research indicating the northern ice cap could be completely gone in less than 23 years.
All nations must take part
Gore requested all nations to take part to avoid a climate catastrophe. China signed the Kyoto Protocol but is exempt from emissions reductions because it is considered a developing country. This situation often cited by the US 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. But the United States emit 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.
© PROMETHEUS 125/2007
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin - News, Politics, Art and Science. Nr. 125, November 2007