Cornwell's colleague Andrew Gumbel then launches into a heroic attempt to explain what Bush really meant:
"From the President's speech in Washington yesterday:
"'In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it.'
"Translation: In recent years, my refusal to acknowledge the reality and seriousness of global warming has turned me into a laughing-stock and contributed to my record low poll ratings. So now I have to look interested.
"'The United States takes this issue seriously.'
"Translation: Al Gore takes this issue seriously, his movie was a hit, and it's causing me no end of grief.
"'By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term goal for reducing greenhouse gases.'
"Translation: By the end of next year, I'll be weeks away from the end of my presidency and this can be someone else's problem.
"'To develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce the most greenhouse gasses, including nations with rapidly growing economies such as India and China.'
"Translation: We will look as busy as we can without doing anything.
"'The new initiative I am outlining today will contribute to the important dialogue that will take place in Germany.'
"Translation: The new initiative will put the brakes on the much more robust proposal the Germans are putting forward. As long as dialogue continues, we won't have to abide by any decisions."
(Note to readers: An earlier version of this column gave credit to Cornwell for these "translations," as they appear under his byline. But Gumbel actually posted them first here.)
Another delaying tactic designed to allow him to get out of office without doing anything.