Friday, June 01, 2007

Bush Proposes Talks on Warming

Pre-Summit Speech Marks Shift by U.S.

By Michael A. Fletcher and Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 31, 2007; A01

President Bush sought yesterday to take the initiative on global warming talks in which the administration had previously been a reluctant participant, offering to launch negotiations aimed at having the world's most prolific polluters agree on long-term goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposal, which Bush unveiled in a speech outlining his priorities for the Group of Eight summit in Germany next week, signaled a shift in the administration's often-criticized approach to combating global warming while offering what the president called a "new framework" for addressing the issue.

Though the president is still not backing a mandatory cap on carbon dioxide emissions, he made it clear that he would like the United States to play a major role in shaping global environmental policy after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

"In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it," Bush said. "The United States takes this issue seriously. The new initiative I am outlining today will contribute to the important dialogue that will take place in Germany next week."

The White House said Bush's proposal has drawn positive reactions from several European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has called for more prescriptive measures for limiting global warming. Still, environmentalists and their supporters in Congress criticized Bush's proposal as a weak substitute for cutting greenhouse gas emissions through binding rules.

Bush's speech came as several members of the Group of Eight have been pressing -- despite U.S. opposition -- for specific cuts in greenhouse gases as part of the June 6-8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. The German proposal calls for limiting the worldwide temperature rise this century to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit and cutting global greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, both of which the administration rejects as impractical. more

Well this is new. I'm curious to see what proposals we bring to the table. Hopefully it'll be something concrete and useful like allowing politicians to only speak one thousand words a day.