U.S. senators, E.U. ministers press Bush to join climate talks

At the U.N. climate summit in Montreal, there’s increased pressure on the U.S. to join in — and when we say “pressure” we mean “begging.” On Monday, 24 senators, including four Republicans, sent President Bush an open letter asking the administration to participate in the negotiations — or at least get out of the way and let other nations talk. European Union ministers tried to mend fences with the U.S., saying they wouldn’t insist on precise caps on greenhouse-gas emissions if that would help get America into talks about what will follow Kyoto. Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth U.K. articulated activist disgust at this gesture, saying that by mollifying the Bush administration, the E.U. is making “a major strategic mistake.” Some activists contend that Kyoto-participating nations should forget the U.S. (and maybe even Britain, where Prime Minister Tony Blair recently started backing away from mandatory carbon caps) and work instead with up-and-coming nations like South Africa, which might be persuaded to commit to legally binding climate agreements.