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Bush to outline global warming policy in State of Union

WASHINGTON -- President Bush will outline a policy on global warming next week in his State of the Union speech but has not dropped his opposition to mandatory limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, the White House said yesterday.

"It's not accurate. It's wrong," White House spokesman Tony Snow said regarding media reports suggesting that Bush would agree to mandatory emissions caps in an effort to combat global warming. Such caps could require energy conservation and pollution curbs.

"If you're talking about enforceable carbon caps, in terms of industrywide and nation wide, we knocked that down. That's not something we're talking about," Snow said.

The Observer, a British newspaper, reported Sunday that senior Downing Street officials, who were not named, said Bush was preparing to issue a changed climate policy during his speech next Tuesday .

US allies such as Britain and Germany have pressed for a new global agreement on climate change to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Bush withdrew the United States from the protocol in 2001, saying its targets for reducing carbon emissions would unfairly hurt the US economy.

"We'll have a State of the Union address in a week and we'll lay out our policy on global warming," Snow said when asked whether Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain had persuaded Bush to agree to tougher action to combat global warming.

Bush has pushed a series of initiatives aimed at encouraging the development of alternative energy sources such as hydrogen and ethanol. That theme is expected to be emphasized in his speech.

Germany is hosting the Group of Eight summit later this year and Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to make the fight against climate change a top issue on the agenda.

Meeting with Merkel at the White House earlier this month, Bush said he was committed to "promoting new technologies that will promote energy efficiency, and at the same time do a better job of protecting the world's environment."

The topic of climate change also came up yesterday when Bush met with new UN leader Ban Ki Moon. Ban raised the subject, according to a UN source.

"This is a global problem that calls for global leadership," the source quoted UN secretary general as telling Bush. According to the source, Bush said that those who sign on to protocols like Kyoto need to live by them.

Snow suggested the president was sticking to his emphasis on voluntary steps to curb emissions.