A week before President Bush broke his campaign pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, EPA chief Christie Todd Whitman warned him in a memo dated March 6 that he needed to demonstrate his commitment to cutting greenhouse gases or risk undermining U.S. standing among its allies around the world.
?I would strongly recommend that you continue to recognize that global warming is a real and serious issue,? she wrote.
This week, Whitman stated that ?We have no interest in implementing that treaty,? referring to the Kyoto climate treaty. She noted that the Senate voted 95-0 against the U.S. taking any action on climate change. The Kyoto agreement calls for industrial nations to cut emissions about a third by 2012.
The Bush administration?s decision provoked a stunned and angry reaction among America?s allies. Many of them urged the U.S. to reconsider.
Germany?s chancellor Gerhard Schroeder plans to appeal to Bush personally when he meets with him this week, since the U.S. is the world?s largest producer of greenhouse gases. He will speak on behalf of the 15 European Union countries, who sent a joint letter to Bush last week, urging him to try to get the treaty ratified in the Senate.
?We hope the Americans will change their mind, because we Europeans think we have the better arguments,? said a senior German official.
?This isn?t some marginal environmental issue that can be ignored or played down,? said European Union Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem.
British Environment Minister Michael Meacher called the Bush announcement ?exceptionally serious.?
?It is not acceptable that national economic worries mean that the world cannot act against a global threat,? said Danish Minister of Energy and the Environment Svend Auken.
?This is outrageous and sabotages many years of hard work,? said Sweden?s environment minister Kjell Larsson.
?If this is true, Japan will be dismayed and deeply disappointed,? said Kazuo Asakai, Japan?s ambassador in charge of global environmental affairs, referring to Bush?s change of mind.
Mie Asaoka, executive director of the Kiko Forum, a network of Japanese environmental groups, said, ?This will jeopardize all the efforts and progress made until 1997. The Kyoto accord will be a waste, and three years of efforts by many people after the accord to enact each new treaty will be broken. This is a serious, sinful statement.?
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