Talk Is Cheap, President Must Back Emissions Legislation

President Bush’s announcement yesterday that he will invite the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters to negotiate a new framework for addressing climate change is a welcome signal -- but the test for the President’s credibility in those talks will be his support for bipartisan legislation, now under consideration in Congress, to put a mandatory cap on emissions.

Leading U.S. companies have called for tough emissions reduction targets with trading, and the Bush administration has the opportunity to set the example for the world by working with U.S. lawmakers to enact a cap and trade bill. If the President doesn't show leadership at home by turning his words into action, he will lose the opportunity to lead internationally.

President Bush also should make clear that the goal of his summit is to support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s goal of stabilizing the atmosphere to avert dangerous climate change. If that is the goal, it will mean a greater willingness on his part to work with the Group of 8 industrialized nations and key developing country leaders that Chancellor Angela Merkel has engaged in Heiligendamm.