July 9, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Newspapers air global pollution pact on Page One

News from the meeting of the Group of Eight made front-page headlines in many parts of the world today as leaders of major industrial democracies agreed to support a 50% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions.

“Halve emissions by 2050,” announced The Age of Melbourne, Australia. The agreement was front-page news in countries represented in the G-8, including Germany and Italy. The summit also made Page One in Japan, where world leaders met.

In continuing its strong coverage of the meeting, The Guardian of London examined instant criticism by developing countries, including China and India: “A deal on climate change — but then the backlash.”

The Toronto Star reported on the role of the Canadian prime minister in forging the agreement. The Globe and Mail of Toronto noted that U.S. participation in the agreement was a change in policy by the Bush administration. “George W. Bush’s carbon conversion,” the banner headline said. Its first-rate lead said, “Tackling climate change has never come easy to George W. Bush — Texas oil man, global warming skeptic and Kyoto killer.”

From South Korea to France, the G-8 was front-page worthy. But did it make Page One in the U.S., where newspapers tend to be more parochial in their story selections?

“Global leaders set pollution goal,” said The Arizona Republic in Phoenix. It was joined in carrying the news by front pages in the environmentally aware West and in large and regional U.S. newspapers.

Some looked at the shift in policy. “Climate pledge is shift for Bush,” The Sun of Baltimore said. “Pledge marks an evolution in the president’s position,” The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer said. Others looked at reaction. “Global deal on pollution is denounced,” The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press said. “Critics of the pact cite failure to set short-term goal,” The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk noted.

If you wonder about the importance of world leaders’ words, The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., reports on reaction after President Bush’s comments praising German asparagus at a state dinner in Europe last month. The folks in central Washington state got a little miffed. “Like asparagus? Shoot, try ours,” the paper said, noting that a box of the Washington-grown veggie was shipped to Bush for comparison. No word on how Bush liked the food at the G-8 summit.

Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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