Ahead of G8, Bush stresses climate change bottomlines

July 5th, 2008 - 11:21 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 5 (IANS) President George Bush has reiterated that there will never be an effective agreement on climate change without the participation of emerging economies like China and India. He also said the world must wake up to the “beauty of nuclear power” that produces renewable energy with “zero greenhouse gas emissions”. Next week’s Group of Eight summit in Japan will be another great opportunity to deal with the environment, he said in a round table interview with the Japanese media ahead of the July 7-9 meeting.

“My own view is that there will never be an effective agreement unless China and India are at the table,” Bush said, according to the transcript of the interview released by the White House Friday.

“And I say ‘effective’, I mean a results-oriented agreement where, in fact, we actually accomplish an objective, which is reducing greenhouse gases,” he said reiterating his oft repeated stand on the issue.

“And so we’ll work to set the conditions so that people understand that in order to be effective, all of us who are creating greenhouse gases must agree to long-term goals, and develop effective interim plans.”

Bush has said earlier he would discuss with Indian and Chinese leaders at G8 how to make major economies part of a common strategy to deal with the issue of climate change.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and leaders of four other major economies - Brazil, China, Mexico and South Africa - would be attending the meeting besides G8 members - the US, Britain, Russia, Japan, Germany, Canada, France and Italy.

Asked if he hoped to strike an agreement on a long-term goal for curbing greenhouse gas emission, Bush said: “I’m hopeful we can strike an agreement. But I caution everybody that such an agreement must have all of us who create greenhouse gases - not just those of us around the table at the G8.”

The idea to have the major economies meeting along with the G8 “was to strengthen the G8, to make it relevant”, he said.

“I wonder whether or not some of these nations who are creating greenhouse gases - but considered still developing nations - are used to the period of Kyoto, when they weren’t held to account about what they were producing,” Bush said.

The Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change requires 36 developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change to specified levels.

The US has not ratified the treaty. India, China and Brazil are among 137 developing countries, which have ratified the protocol, but have no obligation beyond monitoring and reporting emissions. “I wonder if that’s their mind set, said Bush. “Because if it is, it’ll make any international agreement ineffective if they’re not a part to it.”

“And so my hope there is to move the process along so that we, at a very minimum, send a clear message to developing countries that are producing greenhouse gases that we expect you to be a part of an agreement.”

“And step one is a long-term goal. In other words, if you can get nations to commit to a goal, you’ve got them committed to a process,” said Bush. “And so we’ll see how that goes.”

Bush said he would also be talking about technologies at G8. “The interesting thing is that the world is now beginning to wake up to the beauty of nuclear power,” he said.

“If one is really concerned about global warming and greenhouse gases, they ought to be carrying signs insisting upon the development of nuclear power plants. This is renewable energy with zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

“And yet the world - parts of the world are very reluctant about - even in our country, it’s very difficult to build a plant,” he said.

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