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BUSH IN U-TURN ON GLOBAL WARMING
By Andrew Ward and Edward Luce in Washington and Fiona Harvey in London
May 31, 2007
George W. Bush on Thursday unveiled a striking about-face on global warming,
calling on the world¹s leading economies to join the US in agreeing a global
target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions before the end of his term in
The US president was speaking just ahead of a G8 summit at which climate
change was expected to be high on the agenda of European governments. He
explained that his apparent conversion -- which follows almost seven years
of having rejected precisely the road he outlined -- was prompted by new
But Mr Bush made no pledge on the size of emissions cuts that the US would
be prepared to sign up to and gave no indication of a timeframe. The White
House also ruled out carbon trading as the way to cutting emissions.
Environmental campaigners accused the president of cynically seeking to
circumvent the Kyoto process, which the United Nations is seeking to renew
at talks in December. Others accused him of a ploy to derail tougher
Mr Bush said: ³Science has deepened our understanding of climate change and
opened new possibilities for confronting it.
³By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term
global goal for reducing greenhouse gases.²
He said the US would convene a series of multilateral meetings involving the
biggest polluters -- including China and India -- to seek agreement on a
reduction target and how to achieve it.
Mr Bush added that the process was aimed at preparing the ground for a
successor to the Kyoto Protocol -- which Washington never ratified -- when
it expires in 2012. The administration had resisted global emissions
A senior administration official said G8 members would also be involved in
the process, along with Brazil, Mexico, Australia and South Korea. The first
meeting was likely to take place this autumn, he said.
Germany, the host of next week¹s G8 summit, said it was positive that Mr
Bush had ³recognised the urgency and need to act on the issue of climate
change². But in a sign that Berlin remained firmly at odds with Washington,
a senior official stressed that ³all initiatives should be included².
Tony Blair, British prime minister, described the US move as a ³huge step
The European Union has argued for calculating emissions limits by agreeing
to a goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius.
But Mr Bush made no mention of tying emissions curbs to a specific
Robin Oakley, of Greenpeace, said Mr Bush¹s gambit was ³a classic spoiler²
ahead of the G8, ³designed to kick this issue into the long grass until he
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Published by David Sunfellow
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