American opposition to strong action to curb carbon dioxide emissions has led to a rift between leaders of the world’s industrialized nations—the so-called “Group of Eight,” or G8—who met last week in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Bush administration’s continued resistance to signing onto forceful measures to combat global warming looks to jeopardize one of UK prime minister Tony Blair’s major goals for his year-long presidency of the G8 group.
Blair has stated that he hopes to focus G8 attention instead on his other major stated goal for the group, relieving African poverty. “What I am trying to do at the G8 is say ‘America is not going to sign the Kyoto Treaty, let’s leave that to one side,’” Blair told reporters.
Instead of abandoning discussions of global warming completely, the G8 leaders hope to release what critics call a watered-down agreement calling for voluntary carbon dioxide emissions reductions. The Bush administration continues to call for technological fixes and carbon sequestration to reduce global warming without limiting economic growth. “I think you can grow your economy and at the same time do a better job of harnessing greenhouse gases. That’s exactly what I intend to talk to our partners about,” Bush said in reference to the issue.