According to sources close to Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush is going to be signaling a "historic shift" on his administration's climate change policy during next Tuesday's State of the Union speech. According to The Observer
Bush and Blair held private talks on climate change before Christmas, and there is a feeling that the US President will now agree a cap on emissions in the US, meaning that, for the first time, American industry and consumers would be expected to start conserving energy and curbing pollution.
'We could now be seeing the beginning of a consensus on a post-Kyoto framework,' said a source close to the prime minister. 'President Bush is beginning to talk about more radical measures.'
We're skeptical. Starting with his pledge to regulate CO2 as a pollutant during the 2000 election campaign, Bush has cried "wolf!" repeatedly.
Greenpeace USA research director Kurt Davies echoes this sentiment in the Observer piece:
'The sands are clearly shifting on climate change for this administration, but there has to be a concrete follow-up,' he said. 'We were shocked last year when he talked about the US being addicted to oil, but then there was no follow-up to that.'
Frankly, our skepticism is grounded in more recent Administration policy statements. Last week's much anticipated 'major shift on Iraq' was a marginal step in the same direction. Will this be more of the same? Tune in next Tuesday.