Heiligendamm: President George W. Bush said on 7 June the United States was ready to take the leading role in an international initiative to fight climate change.
But he insisted that China and India must be involved in any deal to cut the emissions that cause global warming.
“The US will be actively involved, if not taking the lead, in a post-Kyoto framework, a post-Kyoto deal,” Bush said after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, referring to the UN-backed treaty on cutting emissions that expires in 2012.
Bush said, however, that any global accord would have to include major developing nations which were quickly joining the ranks of the world’s top polluters.
“Our role is a bridge between people in Europe and others like India and China. If we want them at the table it is important that we give them the opportunity to set an international goal,” he said.
“By 2008 the world’s emitters of greenhouse gases should come together. Nothing is going to happen in terms of substantial reduction unless China and India participate.”
Bush rejected suggestions that Washington was doing nothing to tackle climate change, telling reporters that greenhouse gas emissions in the United States had declined in the last year despite the fact that the US economy had grown.
“We are taking steps necessary to be good stewards of the environment and at the same time advance technologies,” he said.
But Bush, who came under massive pressure in the run-up to the summit to move on carbon emissions, said the G8 should not lose sight of humanitarian goals, including aid for Africa, amid the fraught debate on global warming.
“It is important to debate the emissions but it is also important for those of us who have the wealth to put it to work to save lives,” he said.
Blair said he saw progress at the talks in the German Baltic Sea resort Heiligendamm on finding an agreement on goals for slowing down the overheating of the planet.
“I think there is a very substantial coming together around the need to make sure that we have a substantial reduction in emissions and find the right process and right way to achieve that,” he said.
“It is possible that we leave this summit -- I am not saying that will happen -- with a commitment on the part of everyone to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as a global target and that’s of the order of the Europeans are talking about.”
He again praised Bush’s announcement last week that he would work with international partners against climate change.