Media survey: Bush's new global-warming plan gets cool reception

Politicians at home and abroad question the president's strategy, while new climate studies pour in.

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
President Bush delivers remarks on climate, Wednesday, April 16, 2008, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.

President Bush's recently announced climate-change strategy has been met with muted applause.

Mr. Bush called for stabilizing US greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025, a goal many scientists say is far less than what's needed to turn around Earth's warming trend. Global-warming activists and many Democrats in Congress blasted it as too little, too late. No surprise there.

But criticism came from around the world as well.

The Financial Times quotes Japan's environment minister as saying that Bush's announcement "fell far short" of expectations:

"Truthfully, I want the US to tackle the issue of global warming more proactively," said Ichiro Kamoshita.

South African Environment and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk was harsher in his criticism:

"There is no way whatsoever that we can agree to what the US is proposing," said Van Schalkwyk. "In effect, the US wants developing countries that already face huge poverty and development challenges to pay for what the US and other highly industrialized countries have caused over the past 150 years."

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel was downright insulting. Green Business reported that:

"In a statement entitled 'Bush's Neanderthal speech,' Mr. Gabriel said that the White House 'showed not leadership but losership,' and expressed relief that there are 'other voices in the United States' that take action on climate change seriously."

Some of Bush's fellow Republicans were critical as well:

" 'I commend the president for acknowledging that we have a climate change problem and a responsibility to address it, but … the time for real action is now,' California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
" 'Targets for reduction are important, but I'd like to see the federal government follow the lead many states have taken on this issue and approve California's request for a waiver that would enable 17 states to clean their own air of greenhouse gases.' "

Bush's announcement came just as new concerns about global climate change were being voiced.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week reported new warming levels:

"Last month was the warmest March on record over land surfaces of the world and the second warmest overall worldwide…. Overall land and sea surface temperatures for the world were second highest in 129 years of record keeping, trailing only 2002, the agency said."

Also last week, geoscientists meeting in Vienna reported that glaciers and mountain snow are melting earlier in the year than usual. This is stored water needed by millions of people in the summer when there's less rainfall, according to Reuters:

"Daniel Viviroli, from the University of Berne in Switzerland ... says the earth's subtropic zones, which are home to 70 percent of the world's population, are the most vulnerable.
"And with the global population expected to expand rapidly, there may not always be enough water to drink, let alone to water crops, which use about 70 percent of melt-water."
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