| President George W. Bush kisses Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito at an Independence Day ceremony in Morgantown, West Virginia. (AFP)
Washington, July 4: President George W. Bush appeared to rule out any legally-binding treaty to cut global warming last night, crushing Tony Blair’s dream of a groundbreaking deal on climate change.
In an interview prior to this week’s G8 Gleneagles summit in Scotland, Bush bluntly said that the Prime Minister could expect no special favours even though he had supported the war in Iraq.
That meant “No” to any Kyoto-style deal on slashing harmful emissions, declared Bush, who instead placed his faith in new technology to combat the problem.
“I go to the G8 not really trying to make him look bad or good, but I go to the G8 with an agenda that I think is best for our country,” he said in an interview with ITV’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald.
“Tony Blair made decisions on what he thought was best for keeping the peace and winning the war on terror, as I did,” he added.
Anxious to avoid further damaging the US’s reputation in Europe, Bush appeared to soften his sceptical view on global warming by admitting that it was a “significant, long-term issue” which to an extent was man-made. But he reaffirmed that the US did not and would not sign the 1997 Kyoto deal on reducing greenhouse emissions because it “would have wrecked our economy, if I can be blunt”.
Bush indicated that he believed Blair was ready to move “beyond Kyoto” and focus on techniques such as capturing and storing carbon dioxide in underground wells, rather than on setting emission limits.
Total failure at Gleneagles would hugely embarrass Blair who has made climate change one of his two priorities for his G8 presidency.
Blair has said that it is trying to put in place a process on climate change that binds together the developed nations and China and India, which are going to be the top consumers of energy in the future.
“I’m trying to see if we can put in place a process that binds together not just the main developed countries but China and India, which are going to be major consumers of energy,” he said.
British officials are desperate for a compromise to gloss over the stark disagreement between America and the other G8 nations and there were reports yesterday that a plan could still be agreed on cleaning up air and land transport, and providing green technology to developing nations.