Foreign officials offer policy critiques — and aid — in Katrina’s wake
International politicians and pundits are pointing to possible links between global warming and Hurricane Katrina and criticizing the environmental policies of the Bush administration. German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin caught heat from colleagues for the Tuesday timing — but not the substance — of his slam in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper against President Bush, accusing him of willful blindness to the human and economic costs of climate disruption. President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela admonished the U.S. for not signing the Kyoto treaty and being obsessed instead with “capitalist consumerism.” In Italy, an editorial in the left-leaning newspaper l’Unita positioned Bush “Between Kyoto and Katrina,” while an Italian environmental group termed Katrina a “dramatic event” on par with the 9/11 attacks and demanded changes in U.S. climate policy. Despite harsh words, however, governments in these and many other countries, and the United Nations, are offering assistance to help the U.S. cope with Katrina’s aftermath.