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U.S. President George W. Bush has been hailed for a decisive change in his thinking about climate change. After rejecting the Kyoto treaty early in his presidency, he no longer questions the fact of “climate change” and has attempted to claim a leading role in the international fight to combat this problem. His latest effort, however, suggests that Mr. Bush is more interested in the image of leadership rather than the hard work needed to halt and reverse global warming.

Mr. Bush is an unlikely convert. He began his business career in the energy industry, and has maintained strong ties to it. During the 2000 presidential campaign, he questioned first the significance of global warming and then, when the evidence became unmistakable, the links between it and human activity. Upon taking office, he withdrew the U.S. from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and reneged on a campaign promise to impose mandatory reductions in power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. In the last year, however, as global opinion has shifted and climate change has dominated the international agenda, Mr. Bush has come around and acknowledged the need for aggressive action.

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