Sunday, July 03, 2005

Will Bush Act on Climate Change?

Agence France Press reports Sunday evening that U.K. government officials are increasingly optimistic that President Bush could join his G-8 colleagues next week in signing an agreement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Citing British newspaper reports, AFP suggests that the president may agree to a draft now being circulated between G-8 members in which the states would "pledge themselves to cut back on fossil fuel use."

AFP cites a "senior government source," quoted in the Sunday Times as saying "With George Bush we are hoping that he will sign up to a statement like 'climate change is a reality and we must look to find ways out of the problem by employing new technologies.' We think Bush will basically swallow it out of his friendship with Tony Blair."

Agreement is far from certain, the report cautions: there are concerns that French president Jacques Chirac may insist that any G-8 agreement be framed around the Kyoto plan, which would be a definitive deal-breaker for the Americans. "We were never going to get the Americans to accept everything on the science front or sign up to Kyoto; that was clear," a government source is quoted as telling the Observer. "But what they do accept is that there is climate change and that for reasons of energy security and just reducing pollution, they favour measures that reduce our dependence on carbon-based fuels. The motivation might be different but the net results and the impact are the same."

Even a (unanimous) symbolic statement from the G-8 recognizing the existence of global climate change and committing America to reduce emissions would be a major step forward for the Bush Administration. This will be bitterly opposed by the "head in the sand" crowd, led by Senator Jim Inhofe and others, but if these reports turn out to be accurate and the U.S. does sign onto an agreement, it would be a very healthy move.

[Update: The BBC reports tonight on a Bush statement to British broadcaster ITV, in which the president ruled out any climate change approach that resembles Kyoto: "If this looks like Kyoto, the answer is no. The Kyoto treaty would have wrecked our economy, if I can be blunt." As Phil S. notes below in the comments (sorry to be slow in updating, I was on the Centrist Coalition conference call), reading just the headline would indicate little change in Bush's "head in the sand position." However ...

In the same interview with ITV, Bush called climate change "a significant, long-term issue that we've got to deal with," and said human activity is at least "to some extent" to blame. That's something, if only a baby step. He did not reject Blair's G8 plan out of hand, but did reject accepting it as a quid pro quo for Blair's support in the Iraq war (as he should have).

The BBC story isn't as negative as the headline makes it seem; we may get action, even symbolic action, out of next week's summit yet. -- 9:56 p.m.]


At 8:59 PM, Anonymous PhilS said...

Don't bet on it--check out BBC online headlines!!

At 9:28 PM, Blogger "A Brown" said...

I assume you are referring to this headline.

At 2:01 AM, Blogger Sean said...

Bush is not going to give in to pressure on global warming. people should know him well enough by now. So all you on the left go ahead, you got one more reason to hate him. Personally i would be pretty upset if he did give into this global warming myhtology. Please, give me some clear science, this whole thing is a joke. All it takes is common sense, and you can see hoe inconsistent the logic is behind global warming crises is.


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