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Minister calls Bush's CO2 plan a smoke-screen, Berlin not calling quits on G8 ambition

brussels bureau

Minister calls Bush's CO2 plan a smoke-screen, Berlin not calling quits on G8 ambition


George W. Bush’s statement on greenhouse gas emissions is nothing but a smoke-screen, says Germany’s environment minister. The reaction of the European Union’s environment chief was to dismiss it as “unambitious, vague, the classic US line,” he said, with no mandatory reductions.

UN reports this year have projected ever more heatwaves, floods, desertification and rising seas because of rising temperatures linked to greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels. And so, Germany wants next week’s G8 summit, including non-G8 countries China and India, to agree on roughly halving world emissions by 2050.

Some newspapers portrayed Bush’s plan to convene the biggest polluting nations as undermining that ambition. Some leaders, including Britain’s outgoing prime minister, welcomed Bush’s speech. Berlin said it was too early to predict the outcome of the G8.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas himself conceded that Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Chancellor Angela Merkel had emphasised that Bush’s plan at least creates more chances for dialogue. The EU aims to cut its emissions by 20 percent by 2020. In parallel with these efforts, Brussels says costly dike reinforcement should be considered, and raising or moving ports, industrial plants and communities in coastal areas at peril if sea levels rise.

The Commission cites easier measures to adapt agriculture, through crop rotation, drought resistant cultures and altering dates of planting.

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