EU, U.S. Positions on Climate Change Beginning to Merge
U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to a public crowd Sunday in Prague that the United States was ready to take the lead in battling climate change after some prodding by EU leaders to adopt their ambitious goals to combat global warming.
“To protect our planet, now is the time to change the way that we use energy. Together, we must confront climate change by ending the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, by tapping the power of new sources of energy like the wind and sun, and calling upon all nations to do their part,” Obama said to the crowd gathered outside the medieval Prague Castle .
“I pledge to you that in this global effort, the United States is now ready to lead,” he said as cheers erupted from the crowd of tens of thousands of people.
The Europeans seem to be taking well to the latest position on climate change that Obama layed out. The change of policy from the stance of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, is something that the EU was looking to see. The EU has been waiting for the U.S. to make substantial commitments toward cutting its greenhouse gas emissions.
“We welcome the steps taken by the new American administration and the increasing convergence between the European and U.S. position on that matter,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.
“Only together we can convince others to join our common effort to fight climate change.”
EU nations have agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, rising to 30 percent if the rest of the developed world — mainly the United States and Japan — agrees to do so.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants Obama to lead by example and cause other developing powerhouse nations to follow suit.
“While we’re happy that the Americans want to take the lead in the fight against climate change, they have to convince more than just the Europeans,” Sarkozy said in comments to AFP.
“I told President Obama that it was very important that the United States does more so it would persuade the world, notably China and India, to follow suit.”