Friday, June 08, 2007

Did Bush win or lose on climate change? 

Reading Ed Morrissey, I'd say win.
The American position has always been that any emissions agreement that excludes China and India, as well as other developing nations, would both be ineffective and unfair to the West. The Senate in 1997 took the same position when confronted with the Kyoto Accord, which they refused to even consider. Bush has followed in the same policy that the Senate unanimously demanded in 1997.

The American press continually misrepresents this, but the rejection was completely bipartisan at that time, and Europe had refused until now to consider changing the underlying structure of Kyoto. Now, however, the new G-8 agreement apparently includes the two biggest nations on Earth, with a third of the population in their borders. Not only that, but the agreement forgoes hard targets on emissions and the previous mandate for limiting the rise in global temperatures to two degrees Centigrade by 2050, a move which brought the condemnation of Greenpeace.
If success means getting Europe to simply realize the futility of requiring the West to subsidize growth in China and India (and Indonesia and Malaysia, by the way), then I'll take Ed's point.

But while China is trying to make headway, India is already saying no. Success at this point is premature to declare; you basically have a cartel negotiation for output restriction and price increases, and those seldom are easy to create or to enforce.