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EU president calls for action against climate change during visit to Greenland

Source:  Copyright 2007, Associated Press
Date:  June 25, 2007
Original URL: Status DEAD

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso stressed the need for a new global pact to stem global warming after visiting a Greenland glacier that has become a symbol of climate change.

"We must do something. The situation is very dramatic," Barroso told Danish news agency Ritzau after a boat trip late Sunday along the west coast of the giant Arctic island.

Invited by Danish and Greenlandic leaders, Barroso surveyed the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, a U.N. heritage site, which has thinned in recent years in one of the most glaring signs of global warming.

Scientists worry that the melting Greenland ice sheet will cause the global sea level to rise, with potentially disastrous effects on low-lying areas.

The EU leader told Denmark's TV2 that a new climate treaty with binding targets on emissions cuts was "one of the most important priorities, if not the most important priority, in the 21st century."

Barroso said he hoped the main elements of a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, could be agreed upon at a U.N. climate summit in Bali, Indonesia, in December.

"It is evident we will not succeed without binding targets and global commitments," Barroso told Ritzau.

Barroso's three-day trip to Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory, was set to end Monday with political talks in Nuuk, the Greenland capital. He was invited by Greenland Premier Hans Enoksen and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

"Greenland today stands as the symbol of climate changes," Fogh Rasmussen told TV2.

Greenland left the EU in 1985, but has an association agreement with the 27-nation bloc.

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