Monday, May 28, 2007

More on G8 summit and climate

The Associated Press has an article by David Stringer about the U.S. obstructing a climate deal from the summit. The article is based on leaked documents from the summit obtained by Greenpeace.

What are the responsible leaders trying to do?
[German Chancellor] Merkel is seeking to win agreements for a global reduction in emissions of 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and bold commitments to energy efficiency strategies at the summit in Heiligendamm, on Germany's Baltic Sea coast, June 6-8.

They are also talking about a maximum temperature increase:
The draft communique also included a commitment to curb the rise in average temperatures this century to 3.6 degrees, said the environmental group Greenpeace - which has published two leaked versions of the document. Without significant efforts, the rise is estimated to rise as much as 11 degrees, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

I'm glad this article mentioned the IPCC upper bound but I wish it also mentioned some of the other suggested emission targets. There's no way to judge if "50 precent below 1990 levels by 2050" is considered middle-of-the-road or conservative.

The U.S. government wants no part of this:
"The U.S. still has serious, fundamental concerns about this draft statement," the notes on the document read. "The treatment of climate change runs counter to our overall position and crosses multiple 'red lines' in terms of what we simply cannot agree to."

Still (as of now) 603 days left.....

Update: Reuters covers the same story but focuses on how dumb Tony Blair looks:
Greenpeace said the U.S. stance gave the lie to confident statements by Blair that Washington's position was moderating as the summit approached.

"This shows more clearly than ever that despite his protestations to the contrary Tony Blair's efforts to persuade George Bush of the importance of tackling climate change have singularly failed," said Greenpeace director John Sauven.


inel said...

Here's a current view from the other side of the pond ;-) If you do not want it here, just delete my comment.

This is all changing so rapidly. Good news is that Merkel is sticking firmly to the scientists' recommendations. One thing that bothers me with the degrees when quoted in American press is that there is no qualifier. In the European press they specify ˙C or degrees Celsius but US sources are sloppy even about that. There is no way anyone could make judgements about anything when the units of measurement are not even clear! (This only bugs me because climate change is a global concern and the internet is a global resource.)

China will be interesting to track this week, as they have announcements to make regarding short term national goals to combat climate change.

The person to watch at Heiligendamm is, of course, Angela Merkel, though Blair and Bush hold keys to G8 climate action success depending on Tony's ability to judge the situation well. TB can be a good cheerleader, and will encourage Bush to keep coming a step closer, but the rest of the world wants to isolate Bush, and we all know time is running out. Blair is the only one at the summit who may throw Bush a lifeline. The worry for British enviro-activists, imho (though I am not one I share their concern here), is that if Blair rescues Bush in the wrong way, the world loses the chance of a strong commitment to climate action coming out of this summit.

Overnight and this morning in the UK, some commentators, like Geoffrey Lean in the Independent, reflected public unease that Blair would betray the British public by 'doing another Iraq' on us—an extremely unpopular move everywhere except America it seems. Tony runs the risk of letting his people down in the same way again.

However, the latest good news is that he stood firmly with Merkel at their joint press conference today, and so Brits are desperately hoping Blair will use his spine as well as his brain this week when it comes to dealing with George.

Rob said...

Hi Inel,

Thanks for the view from Britain.

I assure you "doing another Iraq" is no more popular here then in Britain. Only Bush's die-hard supporters will cheer that.