US downplays global warming naysaying

The US will continue to take steps to deal with global warming, despite the naysaying emanating from the International Conference on Climate Change in New York.

Despite protestations of 'alarmism' over the heating up of the planet from nearly 100 international scientists and experts, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said George Bush's position on climate change was well-known and unchanged.

"He's long said that human beings are contributing in some ways to climate change. And that's why we're taking steps to deal with it," she said.

The scientists at the gathering have signed a petition claiming global warming is a natural phenomena not a crisis.

Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, which is sponsoring the conference, said: "Al Gore, the United Nations, environmental groups, and too often the reporters who cover the climate change debate are the ones who are out of step with the real 'consensus."

White House environment chief James Connaughton on Monday said the US government was prepared to enter into a binding pact on climate change if and only if other major carbon emitters such as China and India followed suit.

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