Leave it to George W. Bush to disappoint already low expectations. The president unveiled his dud of a plan to combat the climate crisis at a highly publicized meeting Friday of the world’s 16 biggest polluters.
His big idea? Nations should set their own voluntary goals for reducing emissions. Although some delegates seemed impressed that Bush managed to discuss the topic without flinching or giggling, the consensus is that his plan is so 10 years ago.
Britain’s climate delegate put it bluntly: “I think that the argument that we can do this through voluntary approaches is now pretty much discredited internationally.”
The British climate envoy, John Ashton, said the US seemed isolated on the issue of fighting climate change.
“I think that the argument that we can do this through voluntary approaches is now pretty much discredited internationally,” he told the Reuters news agency.
The BBC’s environment correspondent Matt McGrath, in Washington, said Mr Bush’s plan did not sit well with the majority of delegates.
Mr. Bush quickly left the auditorium after delivering his remarks, which ended 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Some of the delegates, representing the major industrialized nations plus Brazil, China, India and South Africa, said they were less than impressed.
“The president made his speech,” said the chief Brazilian delegate to the talks, Everton Vargas. “We took note of his speech.”