Bush's voluntary targets for emissions fail to win support

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The Independent US

Defiant as ever, President Bush remained isolated on global warming when he refused to accept the need for specific limits on emissions from the world's biggest polluting nations.

Mr Bush instead called on the world's largest producers of CO2 to set a voluntary goal for reducing the gasses that are causing the planet to heat up. If there was progress, it was that he didn't exempt the US from the list.

"By setting this goal, we acknowledge there is a problem, and by setting this goal, we commit ourselves to doing something about it," Mr Bush said in a speech ending two days of talks at a White House- sponsored climate change conference.

"We share a common responsibility: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while keeping our eco-nomies growing."

European participants denounced his remarks as "deeply cynical". One delegate described his address as naked attempt to derail the efforts of 80 heads of state at this week's UN summit on climate change.

"What has become clear is just how isolated the US has become, there was no support for the Bush approach," said John Ashton the UK's special advisor on climate change.

"A voluntary approach to reducing greenhouse gases is hardly likely to be more effective than voluntary speed limits on the roads."

The US policy did not win any support and even developing countries, such as China, India, and Brazil now support mandatory limits on carbon and said so.

The meeting which drew representatives from 16 nations saw Mr Bush emphasise green technologies to tackle global warming.

Members of Mr Bush's administration are now on the verge of breaking ranks with his policy. Hank Paulson, US Treasury Secretary, said in New York this week that the world faced "very, very bad outcomes" in the future if nothing was done to reduce carbon emissions.

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