May 31st 2007
Nearly lost at the bottom of President Bush’s speech today on all the U.S. tax dollars he intends to ship off to Africa and Vietnam to fight AIDS was the prez-speak behind the leaked and viciously red-lined mark-up of Germany’s draft global warming initiative.
Scroll way down here, or read the salient points here, complete with a hysterical (as in Warmie hysteria) cartoon:
In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it. The United States takes this issue seriously. The new initiative I am outlining today will contribute to the important dialogue that will take place in Germany next week. The United States will work with other nations to establish a new framework on greenhouse gas emissions for when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
Note that he didn’t say that science has deepened our understanding of the threat of climate change; President Gore certainly would have delivered that line differently. The new initiative he is outlining is certainly meant to contribute to the discussion in Germany, as in knock the German proposal off the table.
So my proposal is this: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. To help develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China.
Two key elements to this graph: First, the phrase “a long-term global goal” is loaded with meaning. It’s not a G8 goal, it’s a global goal, and it’s long-term, which presumably will eschew the 2020 goals of the Germans, which are basically nuts when you’re looking at a global climate system which may not be heating up anyway?
And most important, Bush is signaling that without commitments from China and India, there will be no deal with the U.S. Huzzah! Win-winsville, because either China and/or India submarine the deal and we’re off the hook, or they join in adn the world will become a less polluted place.
In addition to this long-term global goal, each country would establish midterm national targets, and programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs. Over the course of the next 18 months, our nations would bring together industry leaders from different sectors of our economies, such as power generation and alternative fuels and transportation. These leaders will form working groups that will cooperate on ways to share clean energy technology and best practices.
I like the flexibility defined in this paragraph: short-term and mid-term steps allow opportunities to test impacts of various goals on the economy. It’s also very non-european, and a very bright idea, to include industry leaders in the talks.
It’s important to ensure that we get results, and so we will create a strong and transparent system for measuring each country’s performance. This new framework would help our nations fulfill our responsibilities under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United States will work with all nations that are part of this convention to adapt to the impacts of climate change, gain access to clean and more energy-efficient technologies, and promote sustainable forestry and agriculture.
Reaganesque: Trust but verify.
The way to meet this challenge of energy and global climate change is through technology, and the United States is in the lead. The world is on the verge of great breakthroughs that will help us become better stewards of the environment. Over the past six years, my administration has spent, along with the Congress, more than $12 billion in research on clean energy technology. We’re the world’s leader when it comes to figuring out new ways to power our economy and be good stewards of the environment.
And, in closing, the way to meet this challenge is not draconian restrictions on global economies and artificial restrictions on the opportunities for poorer nations to improve the lives of their citizens. Rather, it is technology.
This is everything the Europeans didn’t propose, and it explains all the red ink on the German draft proposal.
As evidence mounts that predictions of global warming doom are just mis-reads on what’s happening on the planet … or the solar system … it looks like Bush is buying time by initiating a cautious, slow process that has plenty of opportunity for other nations to blow it.
I’m warming up to it.