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. US shrugs off 'hot-blooded' climate critics

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) April 17, 2008
The White House on Thursday shrugged off "hot-blooded" critics of US President George W. Bush's climate change policies, tarring them as political opportunists unserious about finding real solutions.

"You're always going to see lots of hot-blooded reaction to anything said on climate, and so you should just be prepared for that," spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters.

Fratto had been asked about Germany's blistering rejection of Bush's new blueprint, delivered in Wednesday remarks that Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel dismissed as "Bush's Neanderthal speech."

"The easiest thing to do is to stand up and pronounce your commitment to some unachievable goal, and reap all of the short-term political benefit that that you would get for doing that," said Fratto.

"The hard thing is to try to set aggressive but reasonable goals, and then doing the work to achieve it. And that's what we've done throughout this administration: We have actually set goals and met them," he added.

"There are a lot of countries around the world who have set goals and failed to meet them, for whatever reason -- either the goal is unachievable or they lack the political or economic or technological capability of meeting those goals," said the spokesman.

At a ministerial-level meeting of the world's major carbon emitters in Paris, South Africa blasted the Bush proposal as a disastrous retreat by the planet's number-one polluter and a slap to poor countries.

The European Union -- which had challenged the US to follow its lead on slashing greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 -- voiced disappointment, delegates said.

"You'll always have people saying it's too much or it's too little, and you should just expect that as we go forward," said Fratto.

"What we try to do is talk about what is aggressive and achievable and possible in ways that will still allow this economy to grow and allow the standards of living for Americans to continue to grow. And we think that's important for the world to consider also as they go forward," said Fratto.

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G8 business chiefs spar over climate measures
Tokyo (AFP) April 17, 2008
World business chiefs gathered here Thursday to discuss ways to tackle global warming as trans-Atlantic tensions emerged over how far industry should go to reduce emissions.

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