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Pelosi Speech at G8 Speakers' Conference in Berlin

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended the G8 Speakers' Conference annual meeting in Berlin, Germany, where she delivered a speech on Saturday on two critical issues which she said ' must remain at the top of the priority list for our countries and our legislatures: the global economy and global warming.'  The G8 Speakers' Conference annual meeting is a conference of the heads of the legislative bodies of G8 nations.

During the speech, Pelosi also touted the House passage of bipartisan comprehensive energy legislation.  She said the bill 'contains solutions as local as our neighborhoods, where green jobs will be created, and as global as the planet, by directing the President to engage constructively in international negotiations on climate change and providing explicit direction on how he should do so.'

On Friday, Pelosi met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

'President Lammert, thank you for your invitation to participate in this conference of legislative leaders.  It is a personal privilege for me to join you here at my first such meeting as Speaker of the House of Representatives.  It is special for me to do this in Germany, where Angela Merkel is Chancellor.  I salute her for her leadership.

'We gather today as representatives of more than 850 million people around the world, selected by our fellow legislators to preside over our legislative chambers.   We have in common our commitment to doing the people's business, and come together as experts in the give and take of the legislative process. 

'I have watched with interest the activities of the G8 and would particularly like to commend the G8 for its commitment to Africa, where drought and poverty have created political problems and engendered violence. 

'When I was sworn in as Speaker earlier this year, I called for, quote, 'a new America that is strong, secure, and a respected leader among the community of nations.'

'It is in pursuit of that goal - to ensure that America is a partner and leader a in world affairs - that I join you today. 

'I am pleased that our agenda includes two interlinked issues that must remain at the top of the priority list for our countries and our legislatures: the global economy and global warming. 

'Today, driven by a new technological revolution, national markets are being transformed into global networks of finance, production, and distribution. Markets - for goods, money, and even labor - are integrating across borders beyond the reach of national legislative bodies to impact on their own.

'Globalization and the opening of markets have often resulted in lower prices for consumers and brought opportunities for a better life for millions of people around the planet. 

'But in many cases, the benefits of globalization have disproportionately flowed to the most affluent and powerful, while the burdensome costs have been shouldered by the ordinary citizen - both in developed and less developed nations.

'The workers of our countries have played an essential role in building this global economy. Our job is to assure that they have opportunities that are fair and sustainable, forging international consensus on the values on which our economic policy must be built.  We must recognize that a strong middle class is vital to a democracy.

'As parliamentarians, we must work together to expand the benefits of globalization to all people of the world, and lessen its harmful impacts.   In particular, as representatives of some of the great democracies of the world, where the power of the state is derived from the people themselves, we must agree that workers rights, consumer protections and environmental safeguards are as enforceable as the protection of economic interests of investors. 

'We must also ensure that our trading partners play by the rules and uphold their responsibility to their international obligations. Nowhere is this more necessary than in protecting and enforcing the intellectual property rights of entrepreneurs, who are the backbone of our economy.      

'For that reason, I was particularly pleased when the G8 launched the Heiligendamm process in June, along with the leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa to forge common solutions on salient global challenges, including not only the promotion of innovation, but the protection of the ideas which fuel innovation. 

'The elections of 2006 changed the shape of American politics, and enhanced the role of the Congress in shaping trade policy. 

'As it says in the United States Constitution, quote, 'The Congress shall have power to...regulate commerce with foreign nations...'  The Democratic majority in Congress is asserting this prerogative, and forging a new bipartisan consensus on trade. 

'As I referenced earlier, worker protections are fundamental component of American law.  Democrats are insisting they similarly be included as a core principle of international trade policy, not as an appendix or afterthought.  The same holds true for environmental standards, which also have worldwide implications. 

'Already, Congress has secured from the Bush Administration changes to free trade agreements negotiated by the Executive Branch.  And for the first time, enforceable, basic labor rights and environmental standards will be included in the core text of our free trade agreements. 

'In order to succeed in this new global economy, it is necessary to move beyond the stale arguments of protectionism versus free trade.

'America has to strengthen its commitment to becoming even more competitive, and it is with that ideal in mind that House Democrats created our Innovation Agenda.  

'We believe that America, and indeed the entire world, can innovate in ways that will lift up the workers who have been left behind by globalization. 

'And in so doing, we are preparing our citizens, our economies, and our environment for the future.  

'With our Innovation Agenda, much of which was just signed into law by the President, we make serious and sustained investments in research and development, and promote the public-private partnerships that will develop high-risk high-reward ideas into marketable technologies.  

'We recognize that in a globalized, knowledge-based economy, America's greatest resource for innovation and economic growth resides within America's classrooms.  We have made a new commitment to encouraging students and ensuring highly-qualified teachers in the fields of math, science and engineering. Just yesterday, the Congress passed overwhelmingly our legislation which will be the largest expansion of student aid since World War II. 

'Climate change presents a challenge to the survival of our planet.  But it also presents an opportunity to create a new and green economy. 

'Leading the way for the world, the European Union has created a system for capping and trading carbon emissions, and established successful, functioning carbon markets that will grow the green economy.

'Investing in a green economy will result in green jobs for the many blue-collar workers who have been left behind by globalization. 

'For example, when a particular steel plant closed in Pennsylvania, many Americans lost their jobs - as they have in manufacturing industries across the country.  But today, one thousand of those men and women are back to work on the site of their former steel mill - building wind turbines. 

'And, these types of ventures are not limited to U.S.

companies. Many U.S.-based firms are creating new synergies with companies abroad to leverage expertise on cutting-edge renewable energy technologies.

'As this trend continues, our success will hinge on ensuring that those who are investing intellectual and physical capital into these types of endeavors can be confident that their intellectual property rights will be protected.

'Part of our Innovation Agenda was comprehensive energy legislation the House passed in August.  It created an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program to train a quality workforce for green jobs - such as solar panel manufacturer and green building construction worker.  Major investments in renewable energy could create over 3 million green American jobs over 10 years in our neighborhoods, inner cities, and rural areas, which are focusing on biofuels.  Efforts around the world would similarly result in the creation of millions more good-paying jobs. 

'Our energy legislation also mandates renewable and alternative sources of energy, reduces greenhouse gases, and declares America's energy independence.  This bill contains solutions as local as our neighborhoods, where green jobs will be created, and as global as the planet, by directing the President to engage constructively in international negotiations on climate change and providing explicit direction on how he should do so. 

'International action is necessary because, like our economies, environmental problems have become global.  While each of our nations can take significant steps to slow down global warming, the nations of the world must work together to forge a strong international agreement to prevent catastrophic climate change. 

'I want to acknowledge the leadership of the countries of the G8 that participated in the UN climate conference in Vienna last week, taking a positive step by reaching agreement on rough targets for cutting emissions.  This December, many of the world's nations will continue this progress when they meet in Bali to develop a new protocol for addressing global warming and I am hopeful the United States will be an active and constructive participant.

'Up until now the United States has not acted with urgency on this issue.  But this indifference is not shared by most of the American people, or by the new majorities in Congress.  In addition to our sweeping energy legislation, Democrats have been leading by example, getting our own house in order by modernizing the 200-year-old United States Capitol to operate in a  carbon neutral way.  And so urgent is the need for decisive action to address climate change and greenhouse gas reduction, I appointed a Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.  This year we will enact comprehensive legislation on energy independence and global warming with the support of concerned scientists, environmentalists, business and labor, and the faith-based community, who believe as I do, that the planet is God's creation and we have a moral obligation to protect it. 

'In 1800, the German writer Jean Paul said, 'Berlin is rather a part of the world than just a city.' 

'It is fitting, therefore, that we gather here in Berlin as concerned citizens of the world determined to work together.   In that spirit of cooperation and respect I bring to this G8 meeting the commitment of the new Congress to a new generation of discovery and innovation, one that will build fairer and broader economic growth and international solutions to worldwide environmental threats.

'As a sign of our cooperation let us join together in expressing our appreciation to President Lammert for his leadership in bringing us together. To all my fellow parliamentarians thank you for participating in this timely discussion.  I look forward to continuing our cooperative efforts together. 

'Thank you.'