Britain and Germany leaders vowed Friday they would work to put global warming at the top of the international agenda and would try to get U.S. participation in addressing the problem.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the statements following talks about Berlin’s 2007 presidencies of the European Union and the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

Asked whether it was possible to reduce emissions of the gases believed to have caused the rising temperatures without the involvement of the U.S., considered as the world’s biggest polluter, Blair replied that under Merkel’s leadership “there’s a real opportunity to make progress next year and certainly we will give every support we can. And I am hopeful that that will be something that all countries can participate in.”

He also noted that in most U.S. states, specifically California, rival parties Republicans and Democrats were united to address climate change and that President Bush stated in his State of the Union address that US is considering replacing carbon-based fuels. “I think there are signs of hope here,” he said.

“There is a real reason for us to promote clean energy.” A report by Sir Nicholas Stern, a top British government economist, warned that if the world does not address global warming, it will lead to an economic catastrophe equal to that of the Great Depression and the two world wars.

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