Bush's energy concerns fuel international interest and skepticism

The world watched in awe and excitement as President Bush outlined his new concepts of global warming and strategies to battle it during his State of the Union address Tuesday night. While the responses varied from optimistic to skeptical, the resounding conclusion was “finally!”

“The fact that the American president acknowledges climate change as a problem is definitely a positive sign,” Karsten Voigt, the German government’s coordinator of transatlantic relations told Spiegel Online.

This observation was universal, ranging from Tony Blair’s expected statement of support, stating that Bush’s speech will lead the debate on global warming in a new direction, to the Australian Conservations Foundation’s rebuff of Bush’s global warming recognition, pointing out his “profoundly weak” proposals, as according to the Washington Post.

President Bush called for the reduction of the national’s gasoline consumption by 20% over 10 years, relying heavily on ethanol and creating stricter mileage standards for cars and light trucks. The next day, he ordered the federal government to begin replacing the federal transportation with hybrid-powered vehicle to reduce governmental impact.

This approach, however, has international governments and environmental groups pointing out the many problems with such a plan. Not only did the President neglect to comment on binding caps for greenhouse-gas emissions, but he is also endorsing a fuel that “can have either a negligible or a very substantial effect on greenhouse gas emissions” according to California Air Resources Board Chairman Robert Sawyer.

Premier Jean Charest, Quebec’s head of government, spoke up on Wednesday at an international economic forum in Switzerland saying “I believe that in regards to climate change, the American people have shown they are more concerned about the issue than their federal government.”

Truer words were never spoken. With luck, the American government will heed our concerns and create some much needed change.

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