Global environmental challenges
Bush speech to U.N.: “terror” 32, “climate” 0
U.S. President George W. Bush upset some delegates by failing to mention “climate change” or “global warming” in his final speech to the United Nations — in which he referred to terrorism 32 times.
Exactly a year ago, the United Nations held a special summit about climate change – U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls fighting global warming his “signature issue” and many governments see it as the biggest long-term challenge.
Bush clearly has a lot to worry about such as the global financial crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Yet while he spoke a lot about terrorism in his speech on Tuesday, he did also refer to other problems such as human rights in Burma, violence in Darfur, the Doha trade round and the fight against malaria.
Climate change didn’t get a mention, even though Bush has called it a “serious problem” and signed up at the Group of Eight nations in Japan in July to a vision of halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. China and the United States are the main emitters of greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels.
“It was a surprise and a shame that President Bush didn’t once mention climate change,” the Norwegian daily Aftenposten quoted Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as saying, adding that he was pleased that both candidates to succeed Bush in January — Barack Obama and John McCain — were making it a priority.
So was it just Bush, often accused by many of his closest industrial allies of failing to take climate change seriously enough?
Or perhaps it’s impossible to list everything in a speech without making it a dull shopping list of the world’s woes?
Or is a speech by a U.S. leader that omits to mention global warming a sign that the world is turning to other issues?
What do you think?