Here’s what President Bush thinks is a great step forward in our battle with climate change. Try (and I mean, TRY) to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2050! SO, apparently the eight biggest carbon wasting countries in the world feel like they can only reduce their carbon emissions by half in the next 42 years. Mmmm. Don’t over extend yourselves boys. This is ridiculous. Other countries are already way ahead of the US in the mpg standards for cars, yet when California tries to ramp up their expectations they get hit with a lawsuit here. Something tells me that our administration may not take this seriously.
TOYAKO, Japan (AP) — President Bush on Wednesday hailed the move by
G-8 leaders to coalesce behind a broad climate-change strategy,
claiming in a summit valedictory that “significant progress” has been
made on global warming.
“In order to address climate change, all
major economies must be at the table, and that’s what took place
today,” Bush said at the conclusion of the summit of leading
industrialized nations — talks that he said also strove to advance free
trade and combat hunger and disease around the world, particularly in
The global warming statement represented quite a
progression for Bush, who in his first term disputed scientists’
assertions about this problem. At his final G-8 summit as president,
and heartily backed a declaration saying that greenhouse gas emissions
should be cut in half by the middle of the century.
clear, and the other nations agreed, that they must also participate in
an ambitious goal,” Bush said, “with an interim goal, with interim
plans to enable the world to successfully address climate change. And
we made significant progress toward a comprehensive approach.”
a statement that he read to reporters here, he also reiterated his
position that substantive progress in the climate change area will
necessarily hinge on further development of clean energy technology.
Developing nations, he said, will need assistance so they can become
“good stewards of the environment.”
The president praised his
fellow summit leaders for their work, not only on climate change but
also on advancing the so-called Doha Round of negotiations on opening
markets to free trade and on their cooperation with U.S. efforts to
help poor nations combat disease and food shortages.
The G-8 nations are the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia.
was Bush’s last G-8 summit, and the meeting here, along with his talks
on the sidelines of the summit, presented a mixed scorecard for him to
take home. Bush saw fellow G-8 leaders essentially embrace his argument
that a comprehensive global warming strategy must include participation
by developing nations as well as the leading industrialized democracies.
he ran into opposition to talk of trade sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe for an election that Bush has labeled a “sham”
balloting. And he made no headway in resolving differences with Russia
over U.S. plans to put a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
held one-on-one talks with several world leaders including China’s
President Hu Jintao, whom he assured he was excited about going to the
Beijing Olympics later this summer. Hu told Bush he was grateful that
he hadn’t politicized the event because of China’s crackdown in Tibet.
an early morning meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
Bush defended a languishing deal his administration negotiated to sell
India nuclear fuel and technology. The deal faces heavy opposition on
If ratified by Washington and New Delhi, the pact
would reverse three decades of U.S. policy by allowing the sale of
atomic fuel and technology to India, which has not signed international
nonproliferation accords but has tested nuclear weapons.
In return, India would open its civilian reactors to international inspections.
took no questions from reporters in delivering his departure statement.
Nor did he address criticisms that emerged about the G-8’s positions,
such as the contention by some environmental activists that the group’s
stance on reducing global warming amounted to political window-dressing
and did not go far enough — or fast enough.
Instead, he sought to frame the summit as a glowing success.
He said that the world’s richest countries had moved to improve to the daily life of millions of people.
In doing so, the president said, “We served both our interests as Americans, and we’ve served the interests of the world.”
other achievements Bush touted, he said the G-8 nations had agreed to
produce clear, transparent reports on whether they are keeping their
promises of humanitarian aid to poverty-stricken Africa.
instrumental in broadening the global warming discussions beyond the
G-8 membership. But he won’t be in office long enough to see the next
chapter of the contentious climate change debate play out when the
leaders meet again next summer in Italy.
achievement of a sweeping climate change declaration with the broad
goal of the 50 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, the leaders
couldn’t agree on any additional specific numerical targets. And not
everybody signed onto the 2050 goal.
In fact, five of the
developing nations at the expanded meeting — China, India, Brazil,
Mexico and South Africa — issued their own statement rejecting the
notion that all share in the 50-percent reduction goal. “It is
essential that developed countries take the lead in achieving ambitious
and absolute greenhouse gas emissions reductions,” said the statement.
“We’re not in complete convergence yet,” acknowledged Jim Connaughton, one of Bush’s top environmental advisers.
was, nevertheless, the first time that heads of state from the U.S. and
the seven other major economic powerhouses sat down to talk about
global warming at the same table with China, India and six other
emerging economies. Altogether the 16 countries are responsible for
spewing 80 percent of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
into the atmosphere.
The gathering yielded few specifics, yet
Connaughton said the leaders agreed to attend another meeting on the
sidelines of next year’s G-8 summit. He talked excitedly about how the
leaders agreed to erase trade barriers to climate-friendly technology,
find better ways to measure emissions and work together to develop
technology to fight greenhouse gas emissions.
however, deplored the statement the leaders released after the meeting,
saying it was meaningless without any targets.
initiative has been a wild goose chase and hasn’t brought anything
constructive to the U.N. talks,” said Antonio Hill, of the aid group
The Bush administration disagreed, saying whatever progress is made is never enough for the environmentalists.
president, too, would have liked the meeting to end with all the
countries agreeing to the long-term target. But just getting China and
India to the table — something Bush was credited with doing — was
lauded as a victory in its own right.
Western leaders have long
called on China to set strict emission caps. But China and India — two
countries that did not embrace the long-term goal — counter that they
need to grow quickly to fight poverty among their massive populations.
They say their per-capita emissions are far lower than those in rich
nations, setting up the classic diplomatic dance of who should take the
The G-8 statement also did not specify a base year
for the 50 percent cut, meaning that the actual emissions reductions
and their effect on the environment could vary widely. Reductions from
1990 levels, as in the Kyoto Protocol, would be far larger than cuts
from 2005 levels, for instance.
“To be meaningful and credible, a
long-term goal must have a base year, it must be underpinned by
ambitious midterm targets and actions,” said Marthinus van Schalkwyk,
South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, who called
the G-8 statement an “empty slogan.”
The discussion on global
warming is a run-up to U.N.-led efforts to craft a new climate change
accord at a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009. That new
accord would succeed the Kyoto Protocol that starts to expire in 2012.