S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

G8 Summit - Climate

Checking the current diplomatic climate on climate change - Prior to next week's big meeting among 8 nations' heads of state, it has been easy to see what is likely to happen regarding the specific issues around global warming. The Financial Times' analysis of the situation predicts that very hard times will come at the summit. The article pulls no punches with this headline, "Europe furious at US climate call." To quote,
Germany and the European Commission reacted angrily to President George W. Bush’s apparent change of heart on climate change on Friday, setting the stage for a stormy G8 summit of rich industrialised countries next week.
A spokesman for Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor and current G8 president, said Germany’s stance that climate talks should take place within the United Nations was “non-negotiable”. Stavros Dimas, the EU environment commissioner, dismissed the proposals for climate talks as vague and “the classic US line”.
Mr Bush on Thursday appeared to suggest a parallel process to the UN, by which the world’s 15 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases would within 18 months “establish a new framework on greenhouse gases when the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012” and “set a long-term global goal on reducing emissions”.
. . . But the plans are starkly different from the proposal tabled by Germany for next week’s G8 summit, which would require leaders to agree to prevent global temperatures rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius and require stringent emissions cuts.
The climate at the podium was chilly. C-SPAN broadcast yesterday's Democratic news conference on global warming featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Congressman Ed Marker (D-Massachussetts), just back from a wide ranging trip abroad, including the "canary in the coal mine country," Greenland. Blogger News Network's Jason Easley has a good summary of the leaders' news conference, from which I quote,
. . . She also had harsh words yesterday for the voluntary emissions cut plan that President Bush will propose at the G-8 Summit next week.
“Having returned this afternoon from a bipartisan fact-finding mission to Greenland and European capitals that focused on global warming, I have to say I am disappointed by the President’s announcement today. After years of inaction and denial, on the eve of the G-8 Summit, the President has finally acknowledged the severity of the global warming threat and agreed that we need a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol that he has spent most of his Administration studiously ignoring.” Pelosi said. I don’t think Kyoto was as great of an agreement as some of its supporters claimed it was, there is a gigantic difference between working with the international community to come up with a better agreement, or doing what this administration did, which was to basically say, “No thanks, none for us,” and walk away.
Pelosi concluding her remarks by saying, “Far from being innovative, the President’s proposal duplicates activities already underway by the United Nations to build on the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The U.S.-sponsored meetings he proposes are likely to require considerable time and effort without advancing a new international agreement to address global warming.” This proposal by Bush is designed to both run out the clock on his administration, and do as little about the climate change problem as possible.
Clearly deceiving - C-SPAN National Security Advisor Hadley's briefing yesterday on President Bush's upcoming attendance at the G-8 Summit (6/6-8/07). Hadley reported that our current president (OCP) wants to, "build international consensus on global climate change," among other goals. That sounds perfectly reasonable. But looking further reveals a tactic that appears to be designed to derail the progress already made in the European Union. Reuters reported on Thursday's apparently diversionary proposal by OCP. To quote from the May 31 article by Caren Bohan and Deborah Zabarenko,
U.S. President George W. Bush, under fire for resisting tough action on global warming, on Thursday called on 15 influential countries to agree by the end of 2008 on a long-term goal to cut emissions.
The proposals, announced before a summit of major powers that will consider the issue, stressed new technologies to make energy use more efficient and restated Bush's rejection of firm caps on carbon dioxide emissions that many of his allies want.
Critics dismissed the strategy as a diversion and a delaying tactic but some European leaders and a U.N official expressed hope that it might be a first step to more action.
A storm of controversy brewing - OCP proposes a whole new deal that essentially sets aside all that has been done by other nations to combat global warming, the excellent leadership already demonstrated by the European Union on the issue, and returns to a vague purely voluntary regime at some time in the future. The 5/31/07 CNN/AP story highlights include:
• President calls for meeting of top emitters of greenhouse gases
• Global warming to be addressed at summit in Germany next week
• Critic says U.S. has "do-nothing" policy on global warming
  • European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso's (6/1/07) official response to President Bush's initiative on climate change:
    "I see President Bush's commitment to ambition for the G8 on climate change and his support for long term goals as a step in the right direction. It is well known that there are major differences between the EU and the US approaches to climate change. I have many times stressed the responsibility of the United States, as a major emitter of greenhouse gases, and the need to step up efforts. I am hopeful that the United States will use the G8 summit next week as an opportunity to make a contribution to the multilateral UN process we already have to face this global challenge. I believe this has to remain the basis for setting - and achieving - binding, measurable and enforceable targets".
  • The meeting will be held at a German resort near the Baltic sea. According to the G8 website,
    From June 6 to 8, the G8 leaders will meet for their annual summit in Heiligendamm.
    The G8 members are Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the United States of America, Canada (since 1976) and Russia (since 1998). The European Commission is also represented at all the meetings.

  • The UK's Richard North writes an interesting blog post about EU politics titled, "The Tempo Quickens" at EU Referendum.

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