On the Defensive

Who's got the hardest job on the planet? It's William Reilly, who is supposed to explain U.S. positions at the Earth Summit -- and keep George Bush from being the bad guy.

As head of the 47-member U.S. delegation to the Earth Summit, William Reilly should get extra pay for hazardous duty. On opening day at the huge conference in Rio de Janeiro, the administrator of America's Environmental Protection Agency faced an aggressive global press corps that could hardly hurl its pointed questions fast enough. Why won't the U.S. sign the biodiversity treaty? Why did the U.S. insist on watering down the climate-change pact? Why do Americans consume so much? Isn't it hypocritical for America to call for protection of tropical forests while cutting down its own ancient trees? Asked, finally, how it...

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