Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bush's G8 Climate Change Plan Nothing more than Idle Chatter

Prior to the G-8 meetings, the Bush administration unveiled the outlines of what it called an ambitious strategy for combating global warming. It declared the US the new leader on reversing climate change, by being prepared to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions which cause global warming. Bush claimed to be trying to have "a new conversation" on this issue, because he took it seriously. So he said.

After years of denying the problem even exists, the White House's claims surprised most observers. The New York Times, long critical of Bush's environmental policies, or lack of them, praised the new claims. CNN's Wolf Blitzer also raved that Bush had gone "green."

But the White House had pulled off perhaps its last big public relations stunt. The claims were intended for domestic consumptions as headlines not as substantive proposals designed to give the impression that Bush is a real leader with new ideas, writes Marc Pitzke. Too bad, most people are past Bush's "new" ideas.

Turns out, that Bush's talk of capping greenhouse emissions was more an effort to solidify the voluntary aspect of his proposal rather than enforce real caps. He went to the G-8 pushing a hands off approach to controlling emissions, and sought acceptance of that angle. Governments should cap emissions, but only if they wanted to. All part of the right-wing's ideological aversion to "interfering" in the free market.

How long is it going to be before we let the "free market" destroy the planet and us along with it?

None of the other G-8 nations had to be told that capping greenhouse emissions was a crucial step in combating global warming.

It also turns out, according to EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, Bush said nothing new. "The declaration by President Bush basically restates the U.S. classic line on climate change -- no mandatory reductions, no carbon trading and vaguely expressed objectives," Dimas said. Bush's same-old approach "has proven to be ineffective in reducing emissions."

In fact, Bush's idle chatter probably killed more advanced proposals offered by right-of-center German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel sought an agreement where the countries would cut emissions by about 50 percent in by 2050.

--Joel Wendland

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