Prior to leaving for the G-8 summit in which climate change was to take center stage, President Bush announced his intention to pursue a new international climate change framework, stating, “In recent years, science has developed our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it.” Jim Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, laid out the details of the three-component initiative during a White House press conference.

The initiative would encourage the 15 countries responsible for the majority of the world’s greenhouse gases to become engaged in combating anthropogenic-caused warming. The proposal details a move that would have those countries develop national strategies to control and reduce emissions, increase energy security, and improve air quality. Further, it would engage leaders of the private sector to develop and share best practices in transportation, fuel, and infrastructure. The proposal suggests that through efficiency and technology sharing, the developed world can better assist the developing world.

Although the White House has stepped forward on the issue in what looks like a 180-degree shift from previous positions on climate change, President Bush is not changing his stance on mandatory reductions in emissions and has rejected Germany’s approach of cutting emissions by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Furthermore, participation in the framework would be voluntary, non-binding, and is considered a “long-term aspirational goal.”

 


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