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Washington feels the heat - Feb 12

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Updating Bush's spin on climate change

Maura Reynolds and James Gerstenzang, LA Times
President Bush is widely considered one of the world's most prominent skeptics of global warming. But to hear White House officials tell it, the world's view of him is wrong.

In recent days, White House officials have made a special effort to argue that Bush has always been concerned about climate change. Moreover, they say, he has long acknowledged that human activity may be a significant factor.

"Perhaps folks have not taken notice of the fact that this is an administration that's been keenly committed both to environmentalism and conservationism from the start," White House spokesman Tony Snow said last week.

Indeed, the climate around global warming in Washington is getting hotter. Members of both parties are scrambling to get ahead of each other - and ahead of public demands - to take measures against the threat.
(11 Feb 2007)


Global warming debate heats up in Washington

Jitendra Joshi, AFP
Global politicians and business leaders aim to turn the unfertile territory of Washington into a hotbed of action against climate change this week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be among those addressing a two-day forum on Capitol Hill that comes at a time when scientific warnings about the catastrophic potential of global warming are reaching a fever pitch.

"The science has become more clear, more certain and more urgent," says British Environment Secretary David Miliband, who will attend the forum at the US Senate along with World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz.
(11 Feb 2007)


Feeling the Heat
Bush administration put on the defensive over climate change

Lisa Hymas, Grist
After six years of dodging the climate issue, the Bush administration is finally having to face it head on. They aren't changing policy -- don't be silly! -- but they are changing rhetoric.

...Consistent with its tendency to hammer home the message of the week, the Bush administration has also been sending out other emissaries to push its new-and-improved climate-change line.

Said Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, "As the president has said, and this [IPCC] report makes clear, human activity is contributing to changes in our earth's climate and that issue is no longer up for debate." Of the IPCC report specifically, Bodman said, "We're very pleased with it. We're embracing it. We agree with it."

U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson was similarly cheery: "The release of the IPCC report marks a great day for the scientific body of knowledge on climate change," he said. "[T]he uncertainties have been narrowed. That's great from a science perspective. As a policymaker, it's much better and easier to make decisions."

This is a dramatic and clearly coordinated rhetorical about-face from a long-skeptical administration -- but don't expect real action to follow all the happy talk.
(9 Feb 2007)

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