The United States Must Take a Leading Role

Rep. Hilda SolisWe arrived in Berlin Monday morning at about 3am. By 8am we were off to a meeting with German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel. I found him to be very informative. We discussed Germany's role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and global climate change in general. Germany has a very ambitious goal of reducing their dependency on fossil fuels and actually tax the population to ween themselves off of wasteful energy. Under this program, funds are invested in new high tech energy efficient technology. Germany has met so many of their energy efficiency goals already and is certainly playing a leading role in addressing climate change.

Minister Gabriel mentioned that they did a good job of educating their engineers and scientists but as life goes on they have a shortage of youth to continue this positive movement. I mentioned the possibility of sending U.S. students to Germany to learn about the new jobs and technologies they've created there.

In Greenland, we saw firsthand that climate change is reality. Scientists have noticed that Greenland’s output of ice into the North Atlantic had increased dramatically, doubling over the decade that ended in 2005. The bottom line now is that the United States must take a leading role in reducing gas emissions as soon as possible. We also need to bring India and especially China on board.

Unfortunately, the Bush Administration refused to sign the Kyoto agreement, which sets caps for certain greenhouse emissions. I hope President Bush will consider a new path on this issue. The G-8 Summit in Germany next week presents an enormous opportunity for the Bush Administration to do just that and to forge a compromise with other G-8 countries on climate change.

Tomorrow we meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel. I'm excited about this meeting since Chancellor Merkel is a strong advocate for cleaning up the environment and containing climate change.

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