Sunday, June 03, 2007

US & Canada: The World's Achilles Heel

Heading into this month's G8 climate change talks in Germany, North America is rapidly asserting itself as the world's biggest nemesis.

Following last week's leaked memo showing the Bush administration's continued opposition to hard caps on carbon emissions, the President himself has now made a new proposal that threatens to hijack the international process - by placing the US in a lead role in negotiations with the world's top 15 greenhouse gas emitters. In making this offer, Bush openly asserts that the US is opposed to hard caps on emissions, carbon trading, and the EU's goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Canada is offering little better. Saturday's Globe reports that Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to act as a bridge between Europe, the US and Asia. The basis for this bridge is recognizing Canada's right to produce more emissions than other countries because of our spiraling oil sands emissions.

Yet, the most embarrassing part of these developments is the reaction of British PM Tony Blair and German Chancellor Angela Merkel who both offered a stunning level of praise to Bush's proposal.

Tony Blair hailed the Bush initiative as an important step forward. "For the first time America's saying it wants to be part of a global deal".

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor and host of next week's G8 summit, also welcomed the initiative. "I think it is positive, and the US president's speech makes it clear that no one can avoid the question of global warming any more," Ms Merkel said of the proposal. "This is common ground on which to act."

By calling Bush's transparent diversionary tactic "a step forward" and "common ground" these European leaders are framing the failure of future climate change talks. As posted here last week, the most destructive approach is allowing the US - which under the current administration has no intention of solving global warming - an active voice in negotiations. European nations have to show the leadership the world needs and dismiss the US from negotiations and work to bring China and India fully on board international efforts.

The US can be invited back to the table once the Bush Administration has been safely put out to pasture in 2008. Until then, the foundation for aggressive reductions needs to be made now.


billg said...

The Bush Administration has outperformed Europe and Canada with regards to GHG emmissions in the past 8 years. In that time period a Liberal government refused and failed to control GHG emmissions. If Global Warming is so important to you, tell the truth and take politics out of this. A Liberal government and Europe are the Worlds Achilles Heal. Just stating some facts thats all.

Odiyya said...

Interesting....but that is actually opinion that is backed up by zero facts. Do you have any to cite?

Sean said...

I run a website that discusses global warming so I feel that I have a handle on most of the pertinent issues.

In my opinion, Mr. Bush is simply giving into politics. This isn't surprising - he is a politician. With the elections coming up in about 18 months he needs to set up for a successor from the Republican party. He cannot allow the Democratic candidates to make global warming a huge issue so it only makes political sense to agree to some types of talks and discussions.

It is interesting though that when Mr. Bush acts as an administrator (the job he gets paid for) he has said that the science does not support dramatic changes in our economy - hence the US did not sign the Kyoto document.

rabbit said...

The Achilles heel is China and India. Their population is growing, their GHG emmissions are growing faster, and soon they will be the dominate GHG emmitters in the world.

Yet they show no signs of taking action against GHG's.

Odiyya said...

Yes. getting them firmly into the process right away is THE key.