What happened
President Bush on Wednesday called for a halt to the growth of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025. The proposal marked Bush’s first attempt to set specific targets for curbing emissions that scientists say contribute to global warming. But the goal falls short of what many researchers and activists say is necessary to avoid dangerous rises in temperature and sea levels. (San Francisco Chronicle)

What the commentators said
Bush’s proposal is “too little, too late,” said The Boston Globe in an editorial (free registration). Bush could have “played a role” in curbing climate change, but he made himself irrelevant by unveiling his goals in the “waning months” of his presidency. “The president who makes the United States a world player in combating global warming will be Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or Barack Obama—not George Bush.”

Actually, by weighing in now Bush is trying to make sure he doesn’t simply dump this issue into the lap of his successor and the “global warmists,” said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. And for that we should all be grateful. The next president “will be far more likely to wave aside economic considerations in the interests of ‘doing something.’” Bush has shown admirable leadership by starting a debate that “dumps the mandates, global bureaucracies and sanctions that the United Nations would impose,” and focuses on the “realities” of what the world can afford to do to curb emissions.

The consequences of climate change might be a huge problem some day, said Indur M. Goklany in the New York Post (free registration). But the “disastrous” response to the problem by the U.S. and Europe is already creating havoc. “Subsidizing the production and consumption of such renewable biofuels as ethanol and biodiesel” has “diverted such crops as corn, soybeans and palm oil from food to fuel,” and this has pushed up food prices worldwide and sparked riots. Before climate change has time to cause “greater poverty, starvation, and disease, as well as widespread ecological destruction,” the ill-advised “remedies” are doing the same thing.