President Bush is urging 15 major nations to agree by the end of next year on a global target for reducing greenhouse gases, The Boston Globe reports. The nations would include the U.S., China, India and major European countries. After setting a goal, the nations would be free to develop their own strategies to meet the target.
“Each country would establish midterm management targets and programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs,” Bush said. “In the course of the next 18 months, our nations will bring together industry leaders from different sectors of our economies, such as power generation, and alternative fuels and transportation.”
The announcement seems to be a shift from Bush’s past emphasis on voluntary steps to curb emissions.
The announcement comes just before the G8 summit in Germany, where fireworks are expected over climate issues. Germany is proposing a target allowing global temperatures to increase no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit – before being brought back down. Practically, experts have said that means a global reduction in emissions of 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The U.S. has rejected this target.
Environmental organizations were quick to criticize Bush’s announcement. Friends of the Earth president Brent Blackwelder called the proposal “a complete charade.” National Environmental Trust president Philip Clapp said, “This is a transparent effort to divert attention from the president’s refusal to accept any emissions reductions proposals at next week’s G-8 summit.”
Beginning with his State of the Union, greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy have been topics Bush has addressed with some regularity this year as pressure to do so has mounted.