President George W Bush on Wednesday told an international energy conference in Washington that any plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must include commitments from emerging economies, like China and India. ( dpa )
"Should there be an international agreement? Yes, there should be, and we support it," Bush told the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC), stressing an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol on climate change must be focused on results.
"In order for there to be effective international agreements, it must include - these agreements must include commitments, solid commitments, by every major economy, and no country should get a free ride," he said.
The issue has been a sticking point in crafting an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which the US has not ratified. The US insists developing nations be given targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions alongside developed countries in any new agreement to replace Kyoto, which expires in 2012.
Bush told the gathering of international ministers, non- governmental groups and business at WIREC that the US is often seen as an energy guzzler, but said that had changed.
"America is in the lead when it comes to energy independence; we're in the lead when it comes to new technologies; we're in the lead when it comes to global climate change - and we'll stay that way," said Bush, who joked that his 20 vehicle motorcade from the White House to the event did little to help the environment.
He said reliance on foreign oil for fuel posses economic, security and environmental challenges, touting biodiesel and ethanol as alternatives for vehicles and wind and solar power for powering homes and businesses, along with laws passed last year to increase fuel standards and set requirements for renewable fuels.
But he acknowledged the downsides of ethanol - much of it produced from corn - including an increase in food prices.
"And so we got to do something about it, and the best thing to do is not to retreat from our commitment to alternative fuels, but to spend research and development money on alternatives to ethanol made from other materials," such as cellulosic ethanol, he said.