BERLIN (AFP) — The German presidency of the Group of Eight nations Monday called on industrialised and developing countries to work together on energy policy to reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told his counterparts from the G8 and the five leading emerging countries that coordinated action was the only way a major UN-sponsored climate change conference that started Monday in Bali could produce real results.
"Climate protection is inseparable from energy security," Steinmeier told the ministers, who gathered in Berlin to discuss global warming.
"Today, we want to offer our support to Bali with this conference."
Steinmeier acknowledged deep rifts between the G8 and the developing world on the issue of fighting climate change.
"But we are all in agreement that the negotiations must continue under the auspices of the UN," he said, calling for a "binding agreement" that would commit countries to lowering their carbon emissions.
"Many are sceptical and standing on the sidelines, but I also see among them a political discussion at home that gives me hope that this can change," he said, in a thinly veiled reference to the world's top polluter, the United States.
"Our objective is to reinforce energy cooperation... for industrialised and emerging countries," he said.
"We need alert systems and coordination mechanisms," Steinmeier said, adding that a strengthening of cross-border institutions such as the Paris-based International Energy Agency would foster this goal.
He also proposed expanding the powers of the International Energy Forum in Riyadh to cover gas markets as well as petrol.
"I hope we can have a debate among ourselves about this subject," he said.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) hopes that its 11-day conference in Indonesia will deliver a roadmap for negotiating cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that will be implemented after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol runs out.
One key sticking point is the kind of commitments large developing countries should make under post-2012 Kyoto.
Leaders of the Group of Eight countries -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States -- agreed at a summit in Germany in June to a non-binding goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and urged major emerging nations to help them achieve the goal.
The Group of Five emerging powers are Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.
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