Issue Date: October 8, 2007
White House Holds Climate-Change Conference
A White House conference on climate change, held on Sept. 27 and 28 with the world's major carbon-emitting nations, was supposed to show that President George W. Bush is serious about tackling climate issues, but other participants criticized his voluntary approach to the problem. "Energy security and climate change are two of the great challenges of our time. The United States takes these challenges seriously," Bush said in a speech at the State Department on the second day of the meeting. He proposed a summit next year of major CO2 emitters to set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. However, he repeated his position that the goal should be an aspiration, not mandatory, and that each country should design its own strategy for achieving the long-term goal. The European Commission, which represents 27 countries, expressed strong disapproval of the voluntary approach Bush advocates. A global reduction of 50% in greenhouse gases by 2050 "must be the absolute minimum effort ... to limit the risk of the global climate going beyond the famous 'tipping point' of no return," said Mogens Peter Carl, EC director general for environment, at a conference press briefing. And to achieve this goal, he said, the developed nations that are responsible for 80% of the CO2 already in the atmosphere need to make firm commitments to reduce emissions at least 30% by 2020 and 60-80% by 2050.
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