Feeling the heat

President Bush has been running from the issue of global warming for four years, but the walls are closing in. Scientists throughout are telling him that the rise in atmospheric temperature justifies aggressive action. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other prominent Republicans are telling him to get off the dime. His corporate allies are deserting him. And the Senate is inching closer to endorsing a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

But Bush seems increasingly isolated and his rhetoric of denial increasingly irrational. Out in the real world, hardly anyone denies the importance of the issue anymore. The National Academy of Sciences and 10 of its counterparts around the world declared that the science of global warming is clear enough to warrant prompt reductions in greenhouse gases. Its tone and its timing, coming just before Bush and other leaders from the Group of 8 industrialised nations are to meet in Gleneagles, Scotland, where Tony Blair will put climate change near the top of the agenda.

Bush will be going to that meeting empty-handed, despite Blair’s efforts last week to make him take the issue more seriously. But what is clear is that the warming issue is gaining traction at home and abroad, inspired partly by Bush’s incorrigible stubbornness. — The New York Times