Rice Opens Climate Change Conference

By Lindsey Ellerson

Sep 27, 2007 1:00pm

ABC News’ Kirit Radia Reports: The State Department is hosting a two-day global conference on climate change, something President Bush called for months ago.  The world’s largest economies are in attendance to explore ways to reduce greenhouse emissions while protecting growing economies, something that the Kyoto agreements, set to expire in 2012, were criticized for not balancing enough.

Just days after the UN Climate Conference, Secretary of State Rice opened the State Department’s conference Thursday morning, saying that global warming is a global problem on the scale of weapons proliferation, the spread of disease, and transnational terrorism.

She said, "We agree that climate change is a real problem and that human beings are contributing to it. The best science tells us exactly this."

The secretary outlined three principle goals for the conference: to agree on long term greenhouse gas reduction goals; to establish national targets and programs to reach the broader goal, saying that this is not a one size fits all approach; and to work with private industry to develop new energy technologies.

Rice added that there is a need to forge a consensus on how best to address climate change, while protecting economic growth in growing countries.  She pledged the cooperation of the United States and acknowledged the nation’s contribution to climate change thus far.   

While inside the State Department leaders stayed focus on business, outside, it got a bit colorful.  Protesters stormed the perimeter of the State Department, resulting in the arrest of 47 people, according to State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey.  The demonstrators were blocking the entrance of the building and after being asked to move three times, guards from the Federal Protection Service, which provides protection for US govt buildings, arrested the protesters.

President Bush is slated to address the conference Friday.

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