Pres. Bush: The Skunk at His Own Garden Party

By Stephen Leahy

Credit:White House Photo/Chris Greenberg

President George W. Bush addresses the Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change on Sep. 28, 2007.

Sep 29 (IPS) – After years of denial, the U.S. White House-sponsored summit on climate change ended Friday with President George W. Bush admitting that global warming was real and humans were responsible and asking for heads of state to join him at yet another summit next year (when his presidency ends).

It’s doubtful if anyone of consequence will attend that future gab-fest since President Bush continues to push voluntary cuts to greenhouse gas emissions when the rest of the world, including much of the business sector, has already said that approach simply doesn’t work.

“President Bush has so little credibility on climate change,” said Chris Flavin, president of the Worldwatch Institute, a U.S.-based environmental group.

Only mid-level officials from 16 countries, the European Union and the United Nations participated in the meeting Thursday and Friday.

“There is a strong international consensus on the need for mandatory emissions cuts,” Flavin told IPS.

The Bush administration has been under enormous pressure from the international community, the U.S. public, some of the U.S. business sector and from within the conservative Republican Party itself to do something on climate change, said Elliot Diringer, director of International Strategies at the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, an environmental group working with the corporate sector.

Many businesses actually want a mandatory cap and trade system for carbon and clear rules about mandatory reductions, Diringer said in an interview.

“The White House summit was simply a change in tactics, not a change of heart,” he said.

Some of those tactics included public expressions of support by the head of the U.N. process for dealing with climate change, which gave birth to the Kyoto Protocol. Others said the White House summit was an attempt to divert U.S. public and media attention away from the U.N. climate summit held earlier in the week, where more than 80 heads of state endorsed the concept of an international post-Kyoto agreement to cap emissions.

“It is an attempt to derail the U.N. process (on climate change),” said Lo Sze Ping, campaign director for Greenpeace China, about the Washington summit.

“The U.S. and Australia should stop finger-pointing and take action,” Sze Ping said at a press conference in New York City, noting that China has automobile fuel efficiency requirements, a commitment to 15 percent renewable energy by 2020, and other concrete emissions reduction initiatives that far surpass U.S. and Australian efforts.

For complete article see The Skunk at His Own Garden Party

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