George Bush is preparing to make a historic shift in his position on global warming when he makes his State of the Union speech later this month, say senior Downing Street officials.
Tony Blair hopes that the new stance by the United States will lead to a breakthrough in international talks on climate change and that the outlines of a successor treaty to the Kyoto agreement, the deal to curb emissions of greenhouse gases which expires in 2012, could now be thrashed out at the G8 summit in June.
The timetable may explain why Blair is so keen to remain in office until after the summit, with a deal on protecting the planet offering an appealing legacy with which to bow out of Number 10.
Bush and Blair held private talks on climate change before Christmas, and there is a feeling that the US President will now agree a cap on emissions in the US, meaning that, for the first time, American industry and consumers would be expected to start conserving energy and curbing pollution.
Unfortunately, Reuters is reporting that it isn't true. Not the first time George has disappointed Tony, is it?