COMMENTS: Gearing up for Germany

Global warming attracted coverage on all three networks as President George Bush made a proposal to set long-term goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. NBC's White House correspondent David Gregory conceded that it was "significant" that the President should attempt to end his "isolation on climate change"--but after that came the caveats. Gregory pointed out that Bush's global warming speech followed yesterday's on AIDS in Africa (text link) and Tuesday's on Darfur (text link): all issues highlighted before next week's G8 Economic Summit in Germany "in order to mend frayed relations with US allies." Also from the White House, CBS' Jim Axelrod observed that Bush was calling for "voluntary international goals" instead of the "binding commitments" proposed by the European Union to reduce emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2050. NBC's Anne Thompson (at the tail of the Gregory videostream) consulted her sources among environmental activists: one unattributed spin was that the Bush speech was "too little too late" and a "PR strategy" designed to keep him from appearing the G8's "obstructionist."

At ABC, Bill Blakemore picked up on a National Public Radio interview by Administrator Michael Griffin of NASA, whose agency is responsible for atmospheric research into the global climate. Griffin called it "arrogant" to assume that the contemporary climate is the best one for humans. "I am not sure," he said, that global warming, "is a problem that we must wrestle with." Blakemore asked climate change scientists why warming is a problem: their response was that human civilization has only existed during the 7,000-year period since the end of the last Ice Age. "Agriculture has always depended on this stable climate--but now temperatures are on track to shoot way above what civilization has ever known."


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