Bush vs. the World at Global Warming Talks

Feature story - July 6, 2005
Eight men had a chance to change the world. Unfortunately, one of those men was George W. Bush. The heads of government of the major industrial democracies met to discuss the most serious issues facing the world as part of the annual "G8" summit. At the top of this year’s agenda was climate change. The final communiqué highlights the divisions between President Bush and the rest of the world on tackling global warming.

Activists protest President George W. Bush's global warming policies.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair served as president of the G8 meeting in Scotland from July 6 - July 8.  He had been outspoken about his hope that this meeting would result in an agreement among the leaders on the scientific threat posed by global warming and the urgent need for action.

Bush officials have been hard at work behind the scenes for months to make sure that didn't happen.  They pushed to weaken key sections of a proposal for joint action by the nations to curb climate change.  Bush has already succeeded in embarrassing the United States with his decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. It is obvious that President Bush does not learn from his mistakes.

The final communiqué includes a statement affirming that the countries that have already ratified Kyoto would work to make it a success. The conference also saw a strong statement from significant developing countries (the "G5" - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) supporting Kyoto and stating that a real commitment to share sustainable energy technology with developing countries is essential. These 12 countries emphasized the need for tough targets to reduce CO2 emissions but Bush remains isolated and alone in his refusal to act

Miraculously, President Bush acknowledged that climate change is "a significant, long-term issue that we've got to deal with."

What are you Waiting for?

Global warming IS in fact a long-term issue, but we can see its effects today.  Kiribati is a small island nation threatened by sea-level rise.  Koin, a native of the island, describes how she and her family suffers as a result of Bush's inaction:

With a family of only one brother, it is very difficult to try and protect the coastal line from the sea waves.  During neap tides, which occur three days in a row every month, my brother has to stay up all night fighting against the waves and try to stack together boulders to protect the house from eroding away.  This is also happening to all our neighbors, as the government could not afford to protect the coastal lands where people live.

In my heart, I know that I still want to live in Kiribati.  But I may not be able to, because of the likelihood of my island disappearing under water as a result of global warming. 

Read Koin's full story.

Greenpeace in the Arctic

As world leaders argue about global warming in Scotland, we're actually doing something about it. Project Thin Ice is in its ninth week, and our ship, the Arctic Sunrise has recently arrived in Greenland. For the next two months, we'll travel along the Greenland coast and work with prominent research stations, to investigate and document the latest evidence of global warming.

Our crewmembers urged President George Bush to join forces with the other members of the G8 to help stop global warming by creating a striking image with charcoal.  The picture depicts a U.S. flag and a polar bear, one of the species most threatened by climate change. 

We, along with our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity and the National Resources Defense Council, formally requested that the polar bear be classified as a threatened species and protected under the Endangered Species Act.