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Bush Speech Shakes Up Paris Climate Talks


Cross-posted on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, IBS, Reuters

At the U.S. sponsored climate meeting in Paris this week (third in a series), everyone was abuzz with the news that President Bush had chosen to offer his approach to greenhouse gases as the Paris talks opened:
The Bush speech was aimed largely at a domestic audience. Bush's aides said it was aimed at heading off a "train wreck" of varying legislation in the U.S. Congress.
Timed for Paris but not about Paris, a meeting that is the result of the U.S. inability to sort climate change at the Bali meeting in December, which led to the follow-up meetings taking place parallel to the UN meetings on the replacement for the Kyoto Accord.

Confused yet?

Confusing and frustrating because not enough is being done and now President Bush, in his Rose Garden declaration, insists he has a better idea of how to lower greenhouse gases before it's too late, when the consensus is that the policies he's proposed are too little too late:
The meetings are part of a U.S.-sponsored series of negotiations on global warming. They involve representatives from the countries that produce 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for heating the planet — including the United States, the 27-nation European Union, China and India.

Schalkwyk said Bush's speech "takes us backward," because it did not call for mandatory emissions cuts. Such cuts are central to U.N. negotiations on a follow-up plan to the Kyoto Protocol. Delegates from the European Commission and the EU presidency found Bush's strategy "disappointing," said the chief U.N. climate change official, Yvo de Boer.
Two weeks ago, I flew to London and then on to Scotland to find it covered in snow -- all of the UK. Which, of course, has been fodder for deniers who don't understand that climate change means climate instability and the cooler La Nina year we're experiencing will not necessarily be kind enough to repeat itself in 2009.

Paris then. Lovely city in the spring (springtime in Paris...). Bit more difficult in the summers these days. All those metal roofs. All those people without air conditioning (all of Paris)...

The talks were meant to focus on how to incentivise green technologies by reducing trade barriers and tariffs. As was experienced in Bangkok and Bali, the talks have now been reduced to speculative grumblings between colleagues as to how long the world can wait for a new U.S. administration before the damage that is already irreparable grows even worse.

LABELS: ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, CLIMATE CHANGE, ENVIRONMENT, GEORGE W. BUSH, GLOBAL WARMING,IBS, KYOTO ACCORD, REUTERS, STORMCHASER, UNITED NATIONS