The Heat Is Online

Official Signals British Anger at Bush Administration

Bush climate change policy 'unhelpful'

The Financial Times, June 23, 2006


A new British government adviser on climate change has hit out at the US for what he says is its unhelpful stance on global warming.


In his second day as Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett's Special Representative for Climate Change, John Ashton set out his agenda for bolstering the UK government's efforts to convince other nations to sign up to a new climate change treaty and adopt cleaner technology.


But, speaking to journalists in London, he also made clear his exasperation with the US's rejection of the Kyoto protocol.


"The policy of the Bush administration on climate change has not been helpful on the international effort," he said. "We would have been further forward on climate change had there been a more engaged US position."


His words indicate a change of emphasis at the Foreign Office under Ms. Beckett, who previously served as Britain's environment minister and has made "climate security" a priority since becoming Foreign Secretary last month.


"The key thing that has happened in climate change in the last year or two is that it is no longer just an environmental issue," he said,

"it's increasingly an economic issue, a foreign policy issue, an energy issue and a security issue."


He added that so far neither the British government nor the international community had generated sufficient momentum in the push to take action on climate change.


"We will need to achieve higher levels of ambition and more coherence in what we do," he said. "The government has made clear that it wants aviation to be brought into the emissions trading regime quickly."


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