Monday, May 28, 2007

Bypass the US in G8 Climate Talks

A leaked document shows that the US remains rigidly opposed to any action on global warming that involves firm targets and timelines. The G8 nations will be meeting next month to discuss new commitments in fighting global warming, but a memo obtained by Greenpeace outlines the firm opposition from the US.

"The US still has serious, fundamental concerns about this draft statement," a red-inked note reads.

"The treatment of climate change runs counter to our overall position and crosses 'multiple red lines' in terms of what we simply cannot agree to," it continues.

"We have tried to 'tread lightly' but there is only so far we can go given our fundamental opposition to the German position."

Meanwhile, Britain and other EU nations are seeking a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050, and last week Japan announced a proposal that would see a 50% reduction by the same date.

But as long as the world is hung up on US buy-in, the entire process needs a wake up call and reality check - in that order.

The US will never agree to real progress on this issue so long as the current administration is holding the presidential reins. The first step other nations need to take is to realize this and start creating solutions that have a chance of working. Step one, send the US away from the negotiating table. Step two, go directly to China and India.

China will surpass US emissions this year. Rapidly growing India is a ways behind but already clocks in at number four (Russia, China and the US are ahead of them for now). At more than a billion people each, and unprecedented annual economic growth, it is essential that these rapidly emerging superpowers are brought into international efforts immediately, regardless of US participation. If the US is throwing a wrench into those efforts, then they need to be sent home. The fallacy of the debate is buying into the notion that the US needs to be there in the first place.

The EU will continue to bring forward aggressive targets and action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Japan will also. Add the combined clout of the Asian superpowers and formal US participation becomes a side issue. These economies can establish and drive an international carbon market. Once that emerges many US companies will inevitably opt in as a viable carbon market creates new business opportunities. Also, the massive trade deficit of the US means that they'll be purchasing most of their products from other nations with way higher efficiency standards. So the US carbon footprint stands to benefit by proxy, if not directly.

This still leaves the thorny issue of direct US emissions - namely in the form of industrial, energy, and automotive emissions. For this, the best solution is their state and municipal governments. Increasingly, US cities and individual states are forging their own global warming strategies. When the international community begins dealing directly with these institutions and stops banging their head against the Bush administration wall, they will greatly help efforts already going on in the US - and inevitably, Washington will need to follow.

5 comments:

Omar said...

I don't raelly understand it? What does it benefit the US in mot supporting measures to stop or reverse global warming? Isn't it short sighted? Isn't the US supposed to always to lead?

Odiyya said...

well, thats what they tell us anyway.

bearintheforest said...

I think the state and provincial leadership will have to continue to insist and demand they stop stalling and the federal leadership will have to support or get out of the way! The local leadership is attempting to do something, both in the US and Canada. This is not the case in respect to the federal governments on both sidesof the border.

Jeff said...

The fact that state and provincial governments are beginning to take action on their own shows that there is a groundswell of support coming from the grassroots up. The federal governments in both the U.S. and Canada will not be able to ignore this in the next federal elections, and the parties that can present the the electorate the best plans to defeat global warming will be the winners -- at least, thats my hope. In the meantime, we are wasting valuable time because of the pro-big business greed of the Bushes and Harpers of the world.

Odiyya said...

Hear hear!