Friday, June 08, 2007


US U Turn on Global Warming Something to Celebrate

The response to the G8 result on global warming has been a bit muted I'd say. Greenpeace say it's 'hardly worth the paper it's written on'; Friends of the Earth is 'disappointed'; Oxfam regard it as 'profoundly disappointing'; and Phil Jones, Director of Climate research at the University east Anglia judged: 'It's all more talk really'. The Guardian's leader also gives a subdued welcome: 'it is not even the beginning of the end for a global framework to tackle climate change'.

Indeed, Bush's declaration to 'seriously consider' a 50% cut in emissions by 2050 is scarcely a bankable assurance that the biggest polluter of them all is now safely aboard the emissions reducing band wagon. But Merkel and Blair should be allowed some small measure of self congratulation. When he came to power in 2000 Bush set his face firmly against any restrictions in US emissions; hardly surprising considering his backers came largely from the oil industry, which it is surprising to consider, was once happy to employ the hard-living frat-boy.

Since then he has maintained his position, supported by such outriders as the oil industry funded Free Enterprise Institute. At the Gleneagles G8 US officials watered down draft documents on global warming to the level of anodyne meaningless. In the run-up to Heiligendamn, we feared the US might sabotage the whole package- certainly Bush's suggestion of a separate UN subverting initiative seemed to indicate such an intention.

With so many of his own states, with fellow Republican Governor Swarzenegger to the fore, and faced by a solid wall of opposition- including for once our own PM- Bush seems to have begun the process of acceding to the arguments in favour of restricting emissions. There are many more hurdles to cross and some of Bush's words were indeed weasel like, but it will be very hard indeed for him to row back from the moral commitment he has made to the cause and which has been interpreted by the world as just such a commitment. Blair is entitled to add a small trophy to his legacy sideboard for his tireless advocacy of global warming to a habitually unresponsive president.

Interesting bit of news. I am willing to support any advocacy campaign that is in support of global warming but I think that the issue has been muddied. Politics has taken our attention off the real issue. The issue is not whether global warming is real or not. Conserving our planet is more important than debating about the genuineness of global warming.
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