Senate Democrats

Bipartisan Group of Senators Call on President to Make Climate Change a Priority for G8 Summit

In a letter (PDF) sent to President Bush today, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-DE) called for U.S. participation in the development of a multilateral response to global warming at the G8 Summit this week. The effort, led by Chairman Biden, Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), urges President Bush to engage his counterparts at the G8 constructively in order to reach consensus on global solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Here is the text of the letter:  

June 4, 2007

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Mr. President:

With the approach of the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, in June, we are writing to urge constructive engagement by the United States in the development of a joint communiqué on the issue of climate change.  Chancellor Merkel, current President of the G8 and host of the Summit, has proposed a set of principles to guide the development of an effective multilateral response to global warming. We believe your support fora clear consensus on those principles could advance the interests of the United States and could open the door to the meaningful participation of developing nations in a global solution to this global problem.

Those principles are: the enunciation of a long-term goal to guide international action on climate change; the use of emissions trading and other market-based mechanisms to provide economic incentives for the most efficient paths to emissions reductions; the development and deployment of clean energy technologies, an area in which the United States has the opportunity to become a world leader; the avoidance of deforestation, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions; and stronger international support for adaptation to climate change, particularly in disadvantaged countries that are most vulnerable to climate impacts and are least able to adapt.

We believe consensus on these principles would put us on a path toward a more inclusive and effective multilateral approach, one that protects and enhances the economic security of our country, provides flexibility for nations to pursue different policy approaches, engages the efficiency and ingenuity of the private sector, and secures commitments by all major emitting nations, both developed and developing.

We appreciate that there are other issues of significant importance to be discussed at Heiligendamm.  We also recognize that progress on climate change discussions can contribute to consensus on the wider range of items on the Summit’s agenda. 

Mr. President, you have made clear that you understand the challenge climate change poses to our nation and our planet.  To meet this challenge, both the United States and developing nations, five of whom will participate in the proceedings at Heiligendamm, must join in the solution.  Your leadership in the search for consensus will be essential to a successful outcome and we hope you feel, as we do, the great urgency to move forward on worldwide greenhouse gas emissions reductions. 

Thank you for considering our views. We look forward to a successful outcome from the 33rd G8 Summit.

Sincerely,

Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Chairman
Senator Olympia Snowe
Senator Jeff Bingaman
Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator John F. Kerry
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Arlen Specter

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