COMMENTS: Globalized Warming

The issues of substance at the G8 Summit were global warming and the NATO-Russia missile dispute. When NBC's David Gregory saw "sharp exchanges" give way to "statesmanship and politeness" he wondered whether "anything will actually get done here." And what do world leaders think about Iraq? "It is no longer discussed really." As for George Bush and Vladimir Putin, CBS' Jim Axelrod saw the presidents "hit a rough spot. They will try to iron things out in their meeting tomorrow." ABC's Martha Raddatz led her report with 70,000 demonstrators surrounding the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm, but offered no more than that they were "protesting globalization." NBC's Gregory found Bush and Bono, the Irish rock singer, "seeing eye to eye on tackling African poverty."

As for global warming, ABC's Raddatz called it "the key issue" while NBC's Gregory heard a "simmering clash." The European powers "do not want goals they want action--strict caps on emissions," Gregory reported. The President, countered Raddatz, "does not want the G8 to dictate hard targets" preferring to let "each nation voluntarily set its own goals." The Chinese economy produces 16% of the globe's greenhouse gas emissions: "The coal keeps electric plants humming," said CBS' Barry Petersen. The United States' inaction on global warming is what "China uses as an excuse" to do nothing itself. Carbon dioxide, however, is not the half of it. Burning coal causes 400,000 deaths annually from lung disease. Of the 20 most polluted cities on the entire globe, 16 are in China. Then the southward spread of the Gobi Desert envelops Beijing in annual blinding sandstorms with "visibility less than a city block."


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