Bush urges G8 lead shift from oil and gas
By Tabassum Zakaria
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – President Bush urged leaders aheadof a G8 summit on Wednesday to spearhead a worldwide effort toinvest in alternatives to oil and gas to help control globalwarming.
Speaking hours before the start of the G8 meeting inScotland, Bush put forward economic arguments that might helpbridge gaping U.S. differences with the other seven countriesover how to grapple with climate change.
“Listen, the United States for national security reasonsand economic security needs to diversify away from fossilfuels. So we put out a strategy to do just that. I can’t waitto share it with our G8 friends,” he told reporters in Denmark.
Climate change is a top-of-the-agenda issue at the G8meeting. The United States, the world’s biggest polluter, isthe only one of the eight countries at the summit not to havesigned the Kyoto treaty to cut emissions of carbon dioxide.
The treaty took effect in February.
“Kyoto didn’t work for the United States and frankly itdidn’t work for the world” because many developing nations werenot included, Bush said. He said he was looking for solutionsbeyond Kyoto.
“I would call it the post-Kyoto era, where we can worktogether to share technologies to control greenhouse gases asbest as possible,” Bush told the news conference outside theDanish capital Copenhagen.
CRUDE AT $60 A BARREL
Despite speculation in the British media, U.S. officialssaid on Tuesday Bush had not softened his stance on Kyoto aheadof the meeting of G8 leaders from Britain, Canada, France,Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.
But in words viewed by other countries as conciliatory,Bush said: “Listen, I recognize the surface of the Earth iswarmer, and that an increase in greenhouse gases caused byhumans is contributing to the problem.”
The United States, the world’s biggest importer of oil,relies heavily on the volatile Middle East for its fuel at atime when crude supplies are hovering around a record $60 abarrel.
Faryar Shirzad, a U.S. official who briefed reporters onTuesday, said: “What we’re trying to do is to find the commonground between our approach of the climate issue and theapproach that the other G8 have taken.
“Their approach has largely been driven by working throughthe Kyoto protocol; ours has been one based on trying toadvance the science and the technology in this area, so that weprovide a longer-term solution.
“And so what we’re trying to do at this G8 is not to haveeither side walk away from their fundamental approach to theclimate issue, but to try to define where the common ground is,and use this G8 as an opportunity to bring unity on an issuethat’s been a source of division.”