Bush, Schroeder Pledge High Tech Energy, Climate Solutions

MAINZ, Germany, February 24, 2005 (ENS) - The emphasis of President George W. Bush's three nation trip to Europe this week is on shared goals, and in Germany Wednesday, that emphasis took the form of a joint U.S.-German declaration of shared goals on renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Bush buried their anger over the U.S. invasion of Iraq and pledged to work together through the G-8 Action Plan on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development to "promote strong economic growth, reduce harmful air pollution, improve energy security, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions," according to their joint statement.


President George W. Bush (left) clasps hands with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Mainz. (Photo courtesy The White House)
A shared goal is to help developing nations in the pursuit of economic expansion and poverty reduction by identifying energy sources that are more abundant and more affordable, the statement says.

Progress on energy efficiency provides one of the greatest opportunities for cost-effective reduction in pollution and greenhouse gases and improvement in energy security, the leaders agreed.

They gave examples ranging from highly efficient power stations, through energy saving products, to fuel cells and photovoltaics.

"A promising new field is the area of nanosciences. They have the potential of offering higher energy efficiency, in particular more energy efficient commercial and household products, including vehicles, through the use of new materials and new illumination technologies," the two leaders stated.

"An intensification of our bilateral cooperation in the field of energy conservation, efficiency and new technologies could accelerate our progress," they said. "Grasping these opportunities will strengthen our economy and open up profitable markets for our companies."

The United States and Germany are both involved in the Methane to Markets Partnership announced in 2004. The program strives to use the greenhouse gas methane as an energy source thereby preventing its release into the atmosphere where it will contribute to global warming.

Schroeder and Bush agreed to work within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Delhi Declaration, although not through its Kyoto Protocol, which Germany has ratified, but the United States has not.

President Bush did not mention his government's goal of developing a new generation of nuclear reactors without the emission of greenhouse gases because Germany is in the long-term process of phasing out its nuclear power system.

The leaders agreed to engage in joint activities to further develop and deploy cleaner, more efficient technologies to support sustainable development.

The agreed to cooperate in "advancing climate science," and develop "effective national tools for policy action."

Finally, they pledged "joint action to raise the efficiency of the energy sector and address air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in our own countries and around the world."

They agreed to utilize their financial and technical resources to advance development of renewable energy in the overall global mix of heat and power production. And they renewed their intention to work together to fulfill the pledges made at Renewables 2004, an international conference convened by the German government last year.


Greenpeace protester flies an anti-Bush banner from an inflatable on the Rhine. (Photo courtesy Greenpeace)
Bush and Schroeder may have agreed to let bygones be bygones on Iraq, nuclear arms buildup, and the Kyoto Protocol, but thousands of German protesters who stood and marched in the city streets do not forgive or forget.

Their banners and posters read "Bush Go Home," and "No. 1 Terrorist."

The protest coordinators, a coalition of pacifist groups with the slogan, "Not Welcome, Mr Bush," said they were expecting 10,000 people to turn out. Official estimates ranged between 4,000 and 12,000 participants.

During Bush's eight-hour visit, air traffic within a 60 kilometer (40 mile) radius of Mainz was banned, barges were not allowed to move along the Rhine River, and highways, factories, businesses and schools were shut.

By contrast, his father, President H.W. Bush, was met with cheering crowds during his visit to Mainz in 1989.