Group Applauds Bush, G8 on 'Global Warming'

By Monisha Bansal | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

(Correction: Fixes comments from Marlo Lewis of Competitive Enterprise Institute in 10th paragraph)

( - He may be disdainful of the Kyoto global warming treaty, but President Bush is nevertheless a "force to be reckoned with" when it comes to plotting the best way to cut the production of greenhouse gases, according to conservative climate change experts assembled by a Washington, D.C. think tank on Tuesday.

Last month's meeting among the leaders of the world's industrialized democracies proved that point, said Roger Bate, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. "The G8 brought climate change discussions closer to current U.S. policy than European policy," Bate noted.

"The Bush administration already acknowledged as much about global warming in the past as the G8 did here," Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, added, pointing out the similarities between the president's policy briefing book from 2002 and the language in the Glenagles Communique on Climate Change, Energy and Sustainable Development, which the G8 leaders signed at their summit in Scotland in early July.

Lewis highlighted the following text of the Communique: "We know enough to act now to put ourselves on a path to slow, and as the science justifies, stop and reverse the growth of greenhouse gases." The text, he said, is almost identical to that of Bush's "Global Climate Change Policy Book," from February 2002.

"Reality might be setting in for those who have written him off as some kind of cowboy, that George Bush is a force to be reckoned with," said Lewis.

With 2 billion of the world's people lacking affordable energy, a pursuit of the changes recommended in the controversial Kyoto Protocol would be contradictory, Lewis asserted. "We are on a collision course with ourselves," he said. Lewis and Bate were part of a panel assembled by the conservative Marshall Institute.

Kevin Knobloch, president of the liberal group, Union of Concerned Scientists, had a much different view last month, labeling Bush "irresponsible" for excluding the U.S. from participation in the Kyoto Treaty.

"Bush resembled an isolated soul in a global warming tug of war, stubbornly being dragged modestly closer to the line where all of the other major world governments and an increasing number of the world's corporations are already standing," Knobloch stated following the G8 summit.

The president, Knobloch, added, had "succeeded in punting major action on global warming down the road to November when the G8 will take up global warming again."

On Tuesday, Lewis said Great Britain's call for further mandatory reductions on greenhouse gas emissions was unnecessary since Great Britain and other European nations were lagging on the reduction goals already in place.

"This was one of the most shameful acts of scientists becoming special pleaders and advocates, but trying to wrap themselves at the same time in the policy neutral garb of science," said Lewis in reference to the Kyoto Protocol.

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