International Treaty or Choose-Your-Own Climate-Change Plan?
Photo credit: mhaithaca
Despite his truancy at the United Nations high-level event on climate change last week, President George W. Bush wants you to know that he is very, very serious about climate change. So serious, in fact, that the commander in chief held his own climate klatch of 16 major carbon-emitting nations in Washington last week, ostensibly to explore a new "process" for moving forward—one that would not commit countries to mandatory targets for capping carbon-dioxide emissions. (It's his party and he'll cap if he wants to.)
But heads of state and public officials attending the United Nations high-level event on climate change, as well as the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting last week overwhelmingly championed a binding international treaty on climate change that included all major emitters, with many stressing that global problems begot global solutions. Bush's tres exclusive private event only underscored his administration's penchant for vague, procrastinatory pledges, bereft of any tangible course of action. Although he said that combating climate change should not damage the economy, according to BBC News, he hinted that the United States would not commit itself to mandatory carbon cuts. A preview of December's climate talks at Bali? You betcha.
"George Bush was castigated by European diplomats and found himself isolated yesterday after a special conference on climate change ended without any progress," writes The Guardian, later quoting Elizabeth Bast of Friends of the Earth, who described the conference as "a diversion>"
"We have heard it before. He put a huge emphasis on technology and does not speak to binding targets, and there is a great emphasis on coal and nuclear energy," she said.
The paper also quoted one of the conference's attendees as saying that even polluting juggernauts China and India agreed that the voluntary approach was "untenable," even if they disagreed with the Europeans over the specifics of the binding measures proposed.
And the kicker: A senior European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the meeting was a "total charade" and had been "exposed as a charade."
"I have never heard a more humiliating speech by a major leader," he added. "He [Mr Bush] was trying to present himself as a leader while showing no sign of leadership. It was a total failure."