In what might well be an all-purpose headline to describe the whole of the Bush visit to Europe, the Reuters press agency is reporting that the US president has "disappointed European environmental activists" who had hoped for a wider commitment to fighting global warming – i.e, to shadow the Kyoto agreement.
Instead, Bush repeated his call to use technology to fight the effects of rising temperatures. "All of us expressed our views on the Kyoto Protocol," he said, "and now we must work together on the way forward." His view was that: "Emerging technologies, such as hydrogen-powered vehicles, electricity from renewable energy sources (and) clean coal technology will encourage economic growth that is environmentally responsible."
"All of us can use the power of human ingenuity to improve the environment for generations to come," he added.
That clearly was not good enough for Greenpeace "climate expert" Mahi Sideridou. He dismissed Bush’s recipe, declaring: "This is as groundbreaking as saying that Brussels has bad weather and good chocolate," adding, "I can't see any rapprochement. I can see the US line and the EU line. The question is will the EU leaders call him on that or pretend they're happy with what the US is doing."
The EU has also discounted the Bush line, with environment commissioner Stavros Dimas saying that technology advances were good - but not sufficient. "Action is needed now," he said. "Significant reductions in emissions world-wide must be agreed."
However, there is perhaps another cause for disappointment – that anyone expected that Bush was going to change his line. Not least, he has to get his measures on climate change approved by Congress, which is not minded to follow the economy-wrecking line of the EU.