The Bush meeting was somewhat successful in its main goal: compete with the U.N. meeting on the same week. It did it by forcing almost every story on the U.N. to mention the Bush meeting, although not in a very good light.
Take this AP preview story which gave the background to the U.N. meeting but also was compelled to mention:
On Thursday and Friday, Bush will host his own two-day climate meeting in Washington, limited to 16 "major emitter" countries, first in a series of such U.S.-sponsored climate gatherings.This Reuters story also mentions the Bush meeting but does not have quotes about what it really is. Shame on you, Deborah Zabarenko.
Many environmentalists fear this separate U.S. "track," which will involve China and India, may undercut the global U.N. negotiating process. But some hope it eventually helps draw those two big developing nations and others into a new, U.N.-negotiated emissions regime.
The NY Times U.N. preview story also mentions the Bush meeting and includes a few quotes on what a crock it is but is not as dismissive as the AP story. USA Today strikes a similar "balance".
The Washington Post had probably the worst article title, playing in to the Bush cult-of-personality with an article titled "Bust Steps Out in Front on Climate Issue". This absurd title seems to come from this quote:
"It's a great initiative that [Bush] has taken," said Lars G. Josefsson, chief executive of the European utility Vattenfall AB and an adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "But of course with that initiative, he also takes on a responsibility, which means he has to deliver."Hey, W. Post, you're quoting an energy company executive. Bush is only taking an initiative to deliver a process:
But [United Nations Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth] faulted the Bush administration for promoting dialogue without pressing for concrete commitments. "When you don't want to do anything, talk process. Nowhere in this process is this administration talking about a concrete commitment," he said. "Is this administration going to be the one to break the logjam? I haven't seen any evidence of that."
The AP continued its tone with its preview of the Bush climate meeting titled "Bush Climate Goals Marked by Bureaucracy".
The post-meetings coverage for the U.N. emphasized the star power of Schwarzenegger and Gore: Reuters, Wash Post, Reuters again. U.N. Secretary Ban's call for a "real breakthrough" at least made it in to the Washington Post's coverage.
Business Week, of all places, had a good summary of the Bush meeting. Title: "Bush's Climate Meeting: Talk, But no Action." But U.S. outlets missed just how badly Bush's party was perceived from U.K's The Guardian:
George Bush was castigated by European diplomats and found himself isolated yesterday after a special conference on climate change ended without any progress.
European ministers, diplomats and officials attending the Washington conference were scathing, particularly in private, over Mr Bush's failure once again to commit to binding action on climate change.
For me, the most promising meeting that week was one between some U.S. Congressmen and officials from China discussing what do do post-Bush. Hat tip to H.E. Taylor's GW News who spotted this story in Der Spiegel.