Don't panic: Bush has a cunning climate plan

Posted by bex — 18 April 2008 at 1:50pm - Comments

Less than a year after the IPCC warned the world that global emissions need to peak within the next 10 years (and then fall sharply), Bush - with much fanfare - has unveiled his new, cunning climate change plan: emit more for the next 17 years, and make sure developing countries help pay for what the US and the industrialised world has already emitted.

His address yesterday came during the latest Major Emitters Meeting - a series of meetings set up by Bush to undermine run in parallel to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process (the UN's process being inconvenient because it wants mandatory rather than voluntary emissions targets, and says the industrialised world should bear the burden of responsibility for historical emissions).

Germany's environment minister immediately criticised "Bush's Neanderthal speech", and South Africa's environment minister said: "There is no way whatsoever that we can agree to what the US is proposing, which means that the fundamental distinction between developed and developing countries should be erased and that we should turn a blind eye to historical responsibility for the problem... We are willing to do our fair share to address the climate challenge, but not to carry a part of the US's burden."

Bush did though announce "a new national goal: to stop the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025". (Note that it's a goal rather than a target - and probably not just because 'goal' has fewer syllables.)

Whether or not this goal is achieved, said Bush, will "depend on accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies." Yes, Bush is still waiting for 'clean coal' and safe nuclear to be invented - both get a mention in his speech.

As Gristmill points out, the speech was probably less about stopping climate change than about thwarting a carbon cap-and-trade bill which may be about to be passed by the Congressional Democrats.

On the upside, US presidential candidates McCain, Obama and Clinton all support binding emission reductions for the US economy. When's that election again?

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