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Two-Fingered Goodbye From Bush

Agence France-Presse, The Guardian – Updated on Jul 11, 2008

US President George Bush signed off with a defiant farewell over his refusal to accept global climate change targets at his last G8 summit.

As he prepared to fly out from the summit in Japan on Wednesday, he told his fellow leaders: “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.”

Mr Bush made the private joke in the summit’s closing session, sources said yesterday. His remarks were taken as a two-fingered salute from the president from Texas who is wedded to the oil industry.

He had given some ground at the summit by saying he would “seriously consider” a 50 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050.

But green groups had protested that the summit was a missed opportunity. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the summit failed to reach a needed consensus.

“The challenge will be great and there is no great breakthrough at this particular meeting,” Mr Rudd said.

Some leaders who were not invited to the elite summit were disappointed at the outcome.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the climate deal was “another step but not definitive”, while his Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkenende said the results “were not those that were expected”.

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