WASHINGTON U.S. President George W. Bush has set a multinational conference on climate change intended to pave the way for agreement next year on cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.
Bush issued invitations to 11 countries plus the European Union and the United Nations to attend the meeting in Washington.
Following are reactions to the initiative.
ANNIE PETSONK, INTERNATIONAL COUNSEL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL
"The administration has indicated they regard this as one of a series of meetings that would feed into the U.N. framework on climate change ... If that's what they do, that could be quite useful.
"The timing of doing that though is something that should be looked at carefully. If they say, for example, that the process they are initiating will last so long that it will last until the end of the Bush administration and not be available for climate negotiations in Bali in December, or a year from now in late 2008, then even if they are well intentioned about it, they will give the impression that they are running out the clock on international climate negotiations."
PAT HEMLEPP, SPOKESMAN FOR AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO, COLUMBUS, OHIO. American Electric is one of the largest U.S. power companies and the largest consumer of coal in the United States:
"We have said for quite a while that it is important to reach a post-Kyoto (emissions-reduction treaty) agreement that will include all nations including the developing nations. So we are looking forward to what comes out of the September meeting.
"Unless similar action (to limit emissions) is being taken by rapidly industrializing nations like China and India, it would be inappropriate for the U.S. to be taking a mandatory action that could damage our economy."
ELLIOT DIRINGER, DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL STRATEGIES AT
PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE.
"It remains unclear whether this is a fundamental shift in White House thinking on emissions or remains a tactical ploy to delay negotiations.
"Binding limits on emissions is something the administration has resisted from the start. If this is just to carry on with a voluntary approach, then it could be worse than useless."