U.S. denies British rumors on Bush climate change

Sunday, January 14, 2007; 2:18 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. official on Sunday denied a British newspaper report that President George W. Bush was preparing to announce a dramatic policy shift on global warming in his State of the Union speech this month.

The British newspaper The Observer reported on Sunday that senior Downing Street officials, who were not named, said Bush was preparing to issue a new climate change policy during his annual speech on January 23.

"While the administration does not detail the president's speech before it is given, this rumor is not true," a senior U.S. administration official said.

Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair held private talks on climate change before Christmas and there was a sense that Bush would agree on a cap on emissions that would mean energy conservation and pollution curbs by industry and consumers in the United States, the newspaper said.

"President Bush is beginning to talk about more radical measures," the newspaper quoted a source close to the prime minister as saying.

British officials have been pressing for the international community to hammer out a new global agreement for climate change to replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

"The president has repeatedly acknowledged the earth is warming, and he's put good policies and significant scientific research dollars to work that are driving technological innovation to lift developing nations out of poverty, and decreasing environmental effects of energy consumption," the U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.

The White House and Downing Street declined official comment on the newspaper story.

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