President’s Bush announced on Thursday 31 May that the US is willing to negotiate with other major greenhouse gas emitters about a “long-term global goal” for cutting climate changing emissions. The declaration (part of a speech on the US International Development agenda) was seen by some as a U-turn by the Bush administration just before the G8 summit in Germany next week, whereas others reacted with skepticism saying Bush is trying the hijack and even undermine the international talks going on in the context of the UN process.
Here are a few interesting comments I picked up:
The editors of the Foreign Policy blog wonder whether the President has become a “climate change activist“. Their verdict: “This is clearly, as critics are already pointing out, an effort to take control of that process and water it down. And with only 18 months left in office, it’s pretty much impossible that a big initiative like Bush is proposing would get anywhere“. But they also see some light at the end of the Kyoto tunnel: “That said, it’s a good sign that even a noted skeptic like President Bush is finally recognizing a need to at least pretend to care about this issue. It’ll make things easier for his successor to do what is necessary.”
The Financial Times apparently had more difficulties deciphering Mr Bush’s message. On its frontpage, the British newspaper talks about a “U-turn” but in its editorial comment, it is bit more critical: “The US government’s attitude towards climate change has been so irresponsible that it is tempting to embrace any progress. It is indeed welcome that the US seems to be engaged in the discussion of what comes after Kyoto. But at next week’s Group of Eight meeting, Mr Bush should not be praised too much for taking his first baby steps”. And FT columnist Philip Stephens is even more outspokenly negative in his analysis and accuses Bush of “playing for time as the planet begins to burn”.