Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bush At Least Says the U.S. Should Talk about Climate Change

The New York Times has the story that President Bush finally thinks is time to talk about climate change:
Seeking to end America's isolation on the issue of global climate change, President Bush called today for the 15 countries that are major producers of greenhouse gases to confer this fall and adopt a common goal on curbing emissions.
The environmental blog Gristmill considers it good news of a sort:
To give credit where it's due, there is considerable symbolic significance to the news that the U.S. is shifting from a stance of truculent foot-dragging to active engagement.
But the Bush administration's history on the subject is not encouraging:
Take the series of meetings. You'll recall that the international community has already been holding a series of meetings on climate change , ever since 1995, under the unwieldy rubric of Conferences of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Just last November, COP-11 was held in Montreal. It was marked, as the previous COP meetings have been, by U.S. intransigence.
The G8 summits have struggled to address climate change as well. Indeed, Tony Blair tried to make climate change a top agenda item for 2005's G8 summit; he even flew to D.C. to beg for Bush's support. But that summit was marked by ... U.S. intransigence .
Then there was the 2005 Davos World Economic Forum, where Blair again begged Bush to move on climate change. Again ... intransigence.
This is not the first time George Bush said the U.S. would act. Actually, the Bush-Cheney 2000 website provides us the transcript of a speech on September 29, 2000, in which Bush said he would regulate carbon dioxide:
With the help of Congress, environmental groups and industry, we will require all power plants to meet clean air standards in order to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide within a reasonable period of time.
It took Bush all of 54 days after taking office to break that pledge. Today's announcement, as welcome as it may be, still does not represent a commitment to regulate carbon dioxide as he said he would do in 2000.

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