Feeds

Bush hugs trees in sudden policy U-turn

Tree-noshing beetle plague in rainless Belize as NASA predicts more rain

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

US President G W Bush, previously renowned for his resistance to carbon-emissions control, yesterday appeared to execute a policy U-turn.

The American leader called on the world's main economic powers - and thus, main greenhouse-gas belchers - to come together on long-term goals to limit atmospheric change.

The main thrust of the President's proposals is to bring in emerging titans such as China and India, who are exempted from emissions controls under the existing 1997 Kyoto agreement. The Bush administration refused to join Kyoto largely for that reason, saying it was unfair to allow Eastern newcomers to develop unchecked while putting carbon-limiting brakes on the US economy.

Over the decade since then, however, the green lobby in US politics has gathered strength and the US has found itself somewhat isolated internationally as its natural allies in the Group of Eight (G8) richest/most powerful nations have set themselves tough carbon targets.

President Bush was expected to face massive international pressure at the upcoming G8 summit in Germany, to add to that being exerted by the Democrat-controlled Congress at home - not to mention many Republicans who have broken with their leader on global warming.

Some have seen yesterday's proposals as an attempt to forestall expected criticism and steer the debate into a direction of Mr Bush's choosing - or even to marginalise the UN.

The Guardian, for example, headlined the annoucements as "Bush kills off hopes for G8 climate change plan...wants to lead response outside UN."

Despite that, the President's proposals have received a welcome from retiring Brit PM Blair and new German Chancellor Merkel. Now that the US has agreed, however nebulously, to tackle climate change, there is no major nation officially denying the necessity for action. That said, the head of NASA, Michael Griffin, has chosen this juncture to suggest that perhaps nothing need be done about warming temperatures.

As politicians wrangle, so do scientists. Many have blamed global warming for a lack of rainfall in some regions, but physicist Frank Wentz says quite the opposite. Wentz, funnily enough, is director of Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) in California - a NASA contractor. He says that satellite data indicates 13 per cent more rainfall worldwide by 2100 on current trends.

"Where that additional rain falls is the 64-million-dollar question," Wentz told Scientific American yesterday. "And I don't think anyone can say that with any confidence."

It doesn't seem to be falling in Belize, to name just one place. Reuters reported the same day that: "A once-majestic pine forest in Belize is struggling to recover from a devastating plague of beetles that scientists say was caused by climate change...beetles destroyed close to 70,000 acres of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest when trees stressed by higher temperatures and years of water shortages could not defend themselves."

Deep waters, these. Or actually, perhaps not. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.