Bush makes striking shift on global warming stance

The Bush Administration has made a surprise U-turn in its approach to climate change in the run up to the presidential election, a report to congress revealed to the world this week.

Having been very shy of accounting for the causes and consequences of global warming in the past, the republican report admitted that carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases are the only likely explanation for climate change over the last few decades around the world.

The report also states that the accumulating emissions pose risks to farmers, citing studies showing that CO2 promotes the growth of weeds as opposed to crops and that it reduces the nutritional value of some types of grasses.

Scientific experts worldwide have been saying that heat trapping gases were almost certainly the cause of global warming for years now, but the White House continually disputed these conclusions.

Senator John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, recently criticised President Bush for his "narrowness of thinking" and his "terrifying ignorance" about global warming.

Dr Dan Lashof, science director of the climate centre at the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) said that it was about time the Bush Administration faced up to the facts and took some action.

"The White House is finally recognising what scientists have been saying for years," said Dr Lashof. "Unfortunately, there has been no shift in their policy on global warming. Now that they have woken up to the truth about global warming, they need to take action to fix this problem."

America policy director for the Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP) Jim DiPeso stated that the damage to agriculture outlined in the report was just one of the many negative effects of global warming. He said it was time for stronger federal leadership to establish relevant policies that would reduce our exposure to climatic risks.

"We call on President Bush to re-examine his passive climate policy and to propose measured but ambitious policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through standards and incentives that will improve energy efficiency and accelerate the commercialisation of clean energy technologies," DiPeso said.

Katherine Silverthorne, director of the US climate change programme at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reinforced the message: "Belated recognition of a long-established scientific consensus on human-caused warming only helps if it leads to solutions. If we act now, we still have time to implement cost-effective solutions to this global threat."

President Bush himself has yet to issue a public statement about the report and its significance.

By Jane Kettle



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