George W. Bush, climate change activist?

SAUL LOEB/AFP The big news out of today’s speech by U.S. President George W. Bush is that the United States is apparently bowing to international pressure and will work on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol. Bush’s plan for moving forward: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term ...

601560_070531_climate_05.jpg
601560_070531_climate_05.jpg

SAUL LOEB/AFP

The big news out of today's speech by U.S. President George W. Bush is that the United States is apparently bowing to international pressure and will work on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol. Bush's plan for moving forward:

By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. To help develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China.

SAUL LOEB/AFP

The big news out of today’s speech by U.S. President George W. Bush is that the United States is apparently bowing to international pressure and will work on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol. Bush’s plan for moving forward:

By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. To help develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China.

After six years of no progress, this would seem a welcome change. I’m skeptical, however. The United States has been pushing back against German efforts to put a more stringent climate change regime in place during the upcoming Group of Eight summit. This is clearly, as critics are already pointing out, an effort to take control of that process and water it down. And with only 18 months left in office, it’s pretty much impossible that a big initiative like Bush is proposing would get anywhere.

That said, it’s a good sign that even a noted skeptic like President Bush is finally recognizing a need to at least pretend to care about this issue. It’ll make things easier for his successor to do what is necessary.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.