Thursday, September 27, 2007

Paying Lip Service


In what would have to be considered one of the most monumental waste of time and petroleum products (shuttling people back and forth), President George W Bush convened a meeting of the world's largest global polluters to talk about global warming and greenhouse gases.


This, of course, comes just as the Clinton Global Initiative opened, which of course includes plenary sessions with regards to global climate change and how to help poorer nations grow economically without becoming polluters in their own right.

That Bush, always trying to out-Clinton the Clintons! Naturally, Clinton's meeting this year lacks the star power of Bush's...hey, when a President calls, you don't tell him no, even if you'd rather hang out with an ex-President instead...and Bush's meeting comes after a carefully orchestrated speech by UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon Monday.

What makes this meeting so ridiculous is the simple reality of Bush's situation: he has zero credibility on the global warming front, he has less than one year of legislative docket to put to use for any initiative he might deign to impose on the nation, and he already has his escape in South America under construction.

What's at stake for him besides some face time near the words "Climate Change Solution"?

In fact, it's almost as if this is a sop to the United Nations for his harsh and hypocritical words on Tuesday:
The declaration of universal rights at the heart of the UN's mission ``is not being upheld,'' Bush said today in his annual address to the 192 member states of the General Assembly. ``We're not doing our duty in the world.''

The president focused on Myanmar, announcing new sanctions against the military regime that he said has imposed a ``19-year reign of fear'' and urging all member states to use diplomatic and economic pressure to bring about democratic change there. ``Americans are outraged by the situation,'' Bush said.

He also urged UN members to support the fledgling democracies in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan and help moderate Palestinian leaders take the steps necessary toward establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Oppressive regimes elsewhere must be confronted, he said. ``Every civilized nation also has a responsibility to stand up for the people suffering under dictatorship,'' Bush said, citing Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Iran. [...]

Bush also chided the UN for being ``silent on repression'' in regimes ranging from Caracas to Tehran, ``while focusing its criticism excessively in Israel.''

To be credible, Bush said, ``The United Nations must reform its own human rights council.''
The UN had its, very diplomatic, say:
"U.S. leadership in the area of climate change is essential, not only because it is a big emitter of greenhouse gases, but because the U.S. is on the cutting edge of developing technological solutions and bringing them to the global market," said special U.N. climate envoys Gro Harlem Brundtland, Ricardo Lagos Escobar and Han Seung-soo at a Capitol Hill briefing.
The subtext, of course, is that Bush has not done nearly enough "leadering" in this area, despite the fact that he could have easily made it a free market dynamic, offering incentives for green technology and climate-cleansing solutions.

But he'd rather focus on ANWR and Iraq, apparently. But naturally, he has some form of policy:
The two-day meeting was called by President George W. Bush, whose administration has been criticized for its refusal to adopt mandatory limits for climate-warming emissions. The White House favors "aspirational" targets.
"Aspirational"...see that quote by me at the very top of this blog? "Democrats Work For Solutions; Republicans Pray The Problem Will Go Away" - Actor212 It's not just whistling Dixie!

Naturally, leave it to a democrat to point out the lack of imperial garb:
A letter to Bush from members of Congress, led by Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, who chairs the House of Representatives global warming committee, urged mandatory curbs on carbon dioxide emissions: "We need actual reductions in global warming pollution, not aspirational goals."
And when you've pissed off the Brits, look out!
"What would really galvanize the international efforts on climate would be a set of policies in the United States to put the United States on a fast track to building a low carbon economy," John Ashton, Britain's climate envoy, said in a telephone interview. "We now need to stop talking about talking and start deciding about doing."
(emphasis added)

Unfortunately, Messrs. Markey and Ashton, you'll need to wait for President Hillary for any serious action to be taken.