G8 – US govt refuses to negotiate on ‘climate change’

The frustration for the rest of the world intensifies as George W. Bush’s continues to refuse to negotiate on ways of mitigating climate change. An American newspaper, The International Herald Tribune reports that a draft communique from the US government, to be presented at the G8 summit in Germany next month, rejects moves by its ‘allies’ to;

* cut global emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2050
* to raise energy efficiency in power and transport by 20% by 2020

The draft said, ‘The proposals within the sections titled ‘Fighting Climate Change’ and ‘Carbon Markets’ are fundamentally incompatible with the president’s approach to climate change’.

In the meantime a German court has partly lifted a protest ban to allow protestors closer to the G8 summit venue.

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22 Responses to G8 – US govt refuses to negotiate on ‘climate change’

  1. George Bush has done nothing but damage to the US reputation around the world, both as a nation and as a people. Hopefully the next administration is more intelligent in its approach to global affairs.

  2. matt says:

    Indeed. Nothing … but … damage. That’s quite an achievement even for a US president.

  3. the Grit says:

    Hi y’all,

    Well, considering your idea of negotiating seems to be instantly giving into the demands of the person on the other side of the table, I can see why Bush might not be popular over there. From our point of view, Angela Merkel is the one refusing to compromise. Another factor in the deal stems from the general failure of the countries that agreed to the Kyoto treaty to meet their commitments. You have to keep in mind that, if we sign onto something like that, we will do it. If we were the only ones to make the sacrifice, it would put us at too much of a competitive disadvantage.

    As to damage to the US reputation, that’s only because y’all are so culturally insensitive. Just because you don’t take the trouble to understand and appreciate the greatness and subtle nature of Southern culture you don’t like Bush and/or the US. So much for the myth of intellectual and social superiority of Europeans. On the other hand, you still buy our goods and services, invest in out country, and prosper under our military protection. Oh, and I would point out that your horrible treatment of your minorities, your stubborn refusal to shoulder your share of the burden in the fight against Islamic Terrorism, all the riots you have, and your continued protectionist stance on imports, hasn’t exactly endeared any European country or leader, with the exception of Blair and the UK, to the average citizen of the US.

    the Grit

  4. Stephan says:

    In an attempt to rebalance the argument a little:)

    In February 2002, President Bush committed the United States to a comprehensive strategy to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the American economy (how much emitted per unit of economic activity) by 18 percent by 2012. Meeting this commitment will prevent the release of more than 500 million metric tons of carbon-equivalent emissions to the atmosphere.

    “I’ve asked my advisors to consider approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including those that tap the power of markets, help realize the promise of technology and ensure the widest-possible global participation….Our actions should be measured as we learn more from science and build on it. Our approach must be flexible to adjust to new information and take advantage of new technology. We must always act to ensure continued economic growth and prosperity for our citizens and for citizens throughout the world.” – President George W. Bush

    The US also spends more on climate research than all the other nations put togeather.

    Kyoto Targets for 2008-2012
    European Community Council Decision of April 2002

    Austria – 13% below 1990

    Belgium – 7.5% below 1990

    Denmark – 21% below 1990

    Finland – 1990 levels

    France – 1990 levels

    Germany – 21% below 1990

    Greece – 25% above 1990

    Ireland – 13% above 1990

    Italy – 6.5% below 1990

    Luxembourg – 28% below 1990

    Netherlands – 6% below 1990

    Portugal – 27% above 1990

    Spain – 15% above 1990

    Sweden – 4% above 1990

    United Kingdom – 12.5% below 1990

  5. matt says:

    So why is Bush so scared (not very cowboy) of targets. They’re obviously not legally binding. They’re simply there to encourage all nations that sign up to them to make the effort to reduce CO2 emissions. However, Bush chooses to make a big song & dance about it. Pathetic.

  6. gwhiz says:

    Stephan – Thanks for the percentages. Helps to see who’s doing what.

    What it doesn’t show is how many net CO2 tonnes improvement per Kyoto participant. THAT would be immensely helpful. Are you able to post those? Lob China, India and America in there too. Might be a bit telling all by themselves.

  7. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    First, taking previous failures to deliver by the person (s) you are bargaining with is not a sign of fear, but of wisdom.

    Second, to be worth fooling with CO2 caps would have to be agreed to in the form of a treaty, and that would be necessary to get sufficient political support in the US for us to sign onto. After all, what possible point is there in saying “we’ll try to do something?”

    Third, you’ve hit upon one of the differences between our political parties. Democrats are often quite happy to make symbolic gestures; Republicans aren’t. Trust me. If the White House changes sides of the isle in the next election, our new President will be quite happy to tell you all the lies you want about anything you desire. Not that they would ever follow up on them in the Global Warming area, seeing as how one of their big blocks of support is the labor unions, and caps on emissions would hurt them along with our manufacturing sector.

    All of which boils down to facts. There is really not all that much we can do about CO2 output until technology improves and we can afford to put it into place. Well, at least not without throwing the US into a depression, and with it the rest of the world. You are right though, that habit Bush has of telling people the truth is a real draw back in politics.

    Hi gwhiz,

    The US had a drop in CO2 emissions last year. Some say it was only due to the mess caused by hurricane Katrina. However, since our GDP continued to rise at a very nice rate over that period of time, there is good reason to believe that consumer pressure for alternative energy, more fuel efficient cars, and such is starting to have an effect on our industry. Since we didn’t have any big disasters this year, the figures for it will be most interesting.

    the Grit

  8. matt says:

    > The US had a drop in CO2 emissions last year.

    Good that you highlighted this Grit. Question is, why doesn’t your president!?

    Here’s the report;
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/flash/flash.html (see pg.2)

    It’s true that consumer pressure/public opinion/entrepreneurs are bringing about change within the US. The difficulty for the United State’s image overseas is that most people only see Bush. Just as most people only see Blair representing the UK. I guess Bush has that good ole southern attitude. He doesn’t give a shit what outsiders think of him.

  9. matt says:

    And here are the reports that Bush et al may well be relying on to formulate their stance at the G8 summit regards CO2 emissions;

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/climate.html

    Happy reading. 🙂

  10. matt says:

    And for a balanced view: President William J. Clinton’s Climate Change Action Plan (1993);

    http://gcrio.gcrio.org/USCCAP/toc.html

  11. Stephan says:

    Some more stats for 2003
    CO2 emissions (metric tonnes per capita), Population(millions), Total emissions(million metric tonnes):

    US: 19.9 metric tonnes per capita 291 Population(millions) 5791 Total emissions(million metric tonnes)

    China: 3.2 metric tonnes per capita 1288 Population(millions) 4122 Total emissions(million metric tonnes)

    Japan: 9.6 metric tonnes per capita 129 Population(millions) 1238 Total emissions(million metric tonnes)

    Germany: 9.8 metric tonnes per capita 82 Population(millions) 804 Total emissions(million metric tonnes)

    UK: 9.4 metric tonnes per capita 60 Population(millions) 564 Total emissions(million metric tonnes)

    India: 1.2 metric tonnes per capita 1064 Population(millions) 1277 Total emissions(million metric tonnes)

  12. Stephan says:

    One thing that the figures do call into question is why, if three of the four developed nations (in a list of the top five global economies and India), have all converged at CO2 emissions of about 9.5 mt/capita as the requirement to achieve a modern consumerist lifestyle under current technologies, whereas the US seems to need twice that level of emissions to achieve the same level of life satisfaction? (The Indian and Chinese time bombs are also apparent).

  13. matt says:

    Exactly my thoughts comparing the US and Europe. The US is known to be energy inefficient. It’s part of greed and excess. It will be their downfall if they don’t wake up to it.

    At the moment Bush’s reaction is to heavily subsidize ethanol production for ‘energy security’ thereby pushing up food prices. They should have christened him Homer Simpson. 🙂

    The American government is panicking.

  14. Pingback: Lifestyle choices without mentioning green or waste ;-) « inel

  15. matt says:

    Inel, thanks.

    You know I value your input, particularly as someone who has lived both sides of the pond.

    Dear readers,
    You can read inel’s thoughts on America’s energy guzzling lifestyle here.

  16. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    You said:

    “Good that you highlighted this Grit. Question is, why doesn’t your president!?”

    and the answer is that our press has a huge left wing bias. Nothing that Bush does or says will be portrayed in a positive light. Honestly, he could, in his spare time, develop a universal and inexpensive cure for cancer, and the main head lines the next day would be something along the lines of, “President Bush throws thousands of health care workers out of work!”

    A good example of this is that, even though the tax cuts he managed to push through Congress during his first year or two as President, managed, not only, to bring us our of a recession, but have also allowed our Government to bring in record breaking revenues in the last couple of years, they are constantly portrayed by our news media as tax breaks for the rich.

    Basically, it means that, if things continue along these lines, y’all won’t have to worry about what the US does in five or six years, because we will be preoccupied with another civil war.

    As to Bush’s attitude, it mirrors the attitude of a majority of our population. We really don’t give a crap what y’all think about us. Of course, you have to remember that a majority of our population can’t find you, as in your countries, on a map. However, don’t be insulted; they can’t find their own States on a map either. For that matter, a significant percentage of our population doesn’t know who our Vice President is, who their Representative and Senators are, or how many States are in the Union. They do, however, display an almost universal grasp of who won this year’s American Idol, what the latest hit song is, and other such trivial information.

    This means that, as long as our economy is running smoothly, which it is, and they can afford the latest minor luxuries, which they can, the vast majority of people over here won’t care if the rest of the world goes to hell, so long as it has the decency to do so without crossing our borders. Mostly, this is because we, in general, work far too hard. However since, on a global scale, we are a minority, we expect special treatment from the world community. It’s how we run things here, and if y’all don’t live up to our standards, you are obviously not Politically Correct, and thus not worthy of attention 🙂

    As to our G8 stance, Bush has decided not to lie to the rest of the world. There is no way that we can meet the goals set by the Germans. Not that anyone else can either, but at least we are being honest. I understand that, from a political point of view, that is shocking, but, keep in mind, he doesn’t have to run again.

    As to US CO2 emissions and efficiency, whoever brought this up needs to check their figures as I recently posted proof that we are several percentage points more efficient than anyone else. If you factor in our low population per area measurement as compared to other developed countries, and its resulting influence on transportation and energy transmission, you will find that we are the most efficient country in the world based on our energy use verses our GDP.

    Hi Stephan,

    As to your 2003 stats, Japan and the UK have the luxury of running on nuclear power. Due to our fanatic environmental movement, this option is denied to us.

    As to Germany, they’ve benefited from the reunification, and the resulting upgrade of East Germany’s ancient power plants.

    As to China and India, since hundreds of millions of their people still live in primitive conditions, it’s really not a fair comparison.

    As to your stats over all, to be useful, they need to be mixed with population and production statistics. Meaning, by the way, that per capita stats are pointless. The demand for goods and services in the world is not shrinking, so the only valid measure would be one of production vs. CO2 emissions.

    Hi again Matt,

    As to ethanol production, Bush is pushing this on the basis of energy independence, not because of any environmental reasons. The environmental factor will be mentioned in press releases because of politics, but that doesn’t change the science. Ethanol, used as a fuel, is worse for the environment than gasoline at this moment in time. However, as the technology improves, this will change. Of course, since we are finally, as a group, tired of buying oil from foreigners, we’ll go with ethanol anyway, as a political ploy if for no other reason.

    the Grit

  17. matt says:

    I see Blair opening up ‘foreign knowledge classes’ across America. I mean, he’s going to need political refuge some place anytime soon … and some money. 🙂

    Bush; blunt. Northern Europeans; reserved. It’s cultural thing. Shit, so how are we all going to deal with the Chinese!

  18. Alisha says:

    Great blog!

    I don’t know if you heard this: Nancy Pelosi and her delegation visited Greenland this weekend, where they “ saw firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality; there is just no denying it. It wasn’t caused by the people of Greenland, it was caused by the behavior of the rest of the world .”

    While in Greenland, Pelosi also met with Germany’s Environment Minister, Sigmar Gabriel. Gabriel and Pelosi agree that industrialized nations must take joint responsibility for global warming pollution.

    Hopefully the US will get on board – you & development crossing are right that Bush just continues to damage the U.S. international reputation. it is a shame…

    Alisha

    the link for the whole story a/b her visit: http://news.bostonherald.com/international/europe/view.bg?articleid=1003515

  19. the Grit says:

    Hi Alisha,

    You should also note that Pelosi and her posse made the trip in a luxury US Air Force jet. She also made a CO2 belching side trip to the UK to have lunch, before leaving a trail of smoke to Germany. The point being, that she and her liberal friends will tell you anything that they think you want to hear, but don’t expect them to actually do anything. We’ve known for years that our Social Security system plan will go bankrupt within the next decade, but all they do is talk about it, and block any legislative attempts to fix the program. It will be the same thing with Global Warming.

    Hi Matt,

    As I understand it, I don’t understand the Chinese at all. Every time I think I have an insight into what makes them tick, they prove me wrong. My best guess is that we need to let them steal any technological developments we make, and that they will put them into use just to spite us. Now, tell me how to handle the Indians.

    the Grit

  20. matt says:

    Hi Alisha

    Thought the recent poll by the New York Times and CBS was interesting, referred to on your blog, about Americans attitudes to making sacrifices in order to mitigate GW (or as we call it, climate change);

    In order to help reduce global warming, would you be willing or not willing to pay more for electricity if it were generated by renewable sources like solar or wind energy?

    Willing 75%
    Not willing 20%
    Unsure 5%

    In order to cut down on energy consumption and reduce global warming, do you favor or oppose requiring car manufacturers to produce cars that are more energy efficient?

    Favour 92%
    Oppose 6%
    Unsure 2%

    In order to cut down on energy consumption and reduce global warming, would you favour or oppose an increased federal tax on gasoline?

    Favour 38%
    Oppose 58%
    Unsure 4%

    *margin of error = 3%

  21. matt says:

    Grit,

    You hand over your country’s best clean coal power station technology to China and the Queen will put her sword upon you ‘Sir’.

  22. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    We seem to have no problems in handing over any of our technology to China. For reference, check out President Clinton’s transfer of long ICBM technology for a few hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions. However, it is an unfortunate side effect of out Constitution that US citizens are forbidden to take titles of nobility, so I must decline the sword touching thing 🙂

    the Grit

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