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US Speaker Pelosi Going To China For Climate Talks

Date: 25-May-09
Country: US

WASHINGTON - A delegation of US lawmakers led by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit China in coming days to discuss international efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Pelosi, a Democrat, said on Friday that a bipartisan group of House members will be on the trip. However she did not provide details.

"It is the purpose of the trip to follow up on meetings that we have had here with representatives of China's government on the subjects of climate change and energy and how that relates to our economy," Pelosi told reporters.

Foreign leaders have been watching closely whether US government officials intend to engage aggressively on tackling climate change.

Pelosi's visit comes on the heels of the House Energy and Commerce Committee approving a climate change bill late on Thursday that would reduce US carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2020.

The legislation would create a "cap and trade" program to limit industrial pollution while allowing companies to sell pollution permits to each other on an as-needed basis.

Pelosi hopes to get that legislation approved in the full House by August. Its fate in the Senate is less clear.

China is rapidly becoming a leading emitter in the world of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases associated with climate change problems.

While leaders around the world, including US President Barack Obama, are hoping to sign a new global climate change pact in Copenhagen in December, it is unclear whether China will take on an aggressive role in curbing the pollutants.

Under the existing Kyoto Protocol on reducing carbon emissions, China and other developing countries have been held to less stringent standards. That has prompted Republican opponents in the United States to cap and trade to argue that it would encourage US firms to shift more of their operations abroad.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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