- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2007

President Bush this morning told leaders from the 17 most pollutant countries that the U.S. approach to global warming is the way forward for the world, rejecting calls from Democrats and Europeans for mandatory emissions caps.

“Our guiding principle is clear. We must lead the world to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and we must do it in a way that does not undermine economic growth or prevent nations from delivering greater prosperity for their people,” Mr. Bush said.

The president, speaking at the State Department on the second day of a conference organized by his administration, laid out a vision for an “age of clean energy,” contrasting that with the prevailing mindset so far, which has been to seek limit on energy use.

Mr. Bush told the foreign leaders and a few congressional leaders in attendance that they should “choose to expand prosperity instead of accepting stagnation” and reject “predictions of despair and set a course of a more hopeful future.”

But Democrats immediately panned the president’s speech, calling it “recycled rhetoric.”
VIDEO: Bush on warming: ‘The moment is now’

“The president is no closer to supporting mandatory targets for reducing heat-trapping pollution, and he is no closer to admitting that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that threatens our planet, said Rep. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat.

Mr. Markey, who attended the speech, chairs the House select committee on energy independence and global warming, which was set up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, this year.

The Bush administration organized the conference to influence the negotiating process on global warming already occurring under the United Nations.

But some critics said the conference was a distraction from the U.N. process, and while the U.N.’s top global warming official has commended the U.S. for organizing the conference, he has indicated it will only be a success if it leads to mandatory caps.

The Kyoto Protocol, originally ratified in 1998, has had the agreement of 175 countries, who must each adhere to mandatory emission caps. However, developing countries such as China, India and Brazil were exempted from the caps.

The U.S. has protested this exemption, saying that it would allow the rival economies of burgeoning countries such as China and India to outpace the U.S., whose economy could be crippled under mandatory caps.

In addition, many countries have failed to achieve their goals for emission reductions and are facing penalties.

“The old way didn’t work,” said White House press secretary Dana Perino.

Mr. Bush has sought instead to work with the developing countries on a process that takes an alternative approach to curbing emissions.

“For many yearsit was said that we faced a choice between protecting the environment and producing enough energy. Today we know better. These challenges share a common solution: technology,” Mr. Bush said.

The Bush administration believes that carbon emissions can be cut through new clean-coal technologies, more nuclear power plants, wind power, solar power, and an increase in the use of renewable fuels such as ethanol.

And Mr. Bush was insistent that “each nation must decide for itself the right mix of tools and technologies to achieve results.”

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