With tales of rising seas and talk of human solidarity, world leaders at the first United Nations climate summit sought Monday to put new urgency into global talks to reduce global-warming emissions.
What’s needed is “action, action, action,” California’s environmentalist governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, told the assembled presidents and premiers.
The Bush administration showed no sign, however, that it would reverse its stand against mandatory emission cuts endorsed by 175 other nations. Some expressed fears the White House, with its own forum later this week, would launch talks rivaling the U.N. climate treaty negotiations.
President Bush didn’t take part in the day’s sessions, which drew more than 80 national leaders, but attended a small dinner Monday evening, a gathering of key climate players hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
John Kerry issued the following statement on Bush's decision not to attend the summit:
“The Bush Administration has done everything in its power to downplay, discount, and distract from the threat of climate change, so it’s not surprising that the President is skipping a series of high-level meetings designed to address the problem,” Kerry said. “As heads of state of 80 different countries and representatives from 150 countries gather in New York to chart the global response to climate change, the President’s absence sends a clear signal that he isn’t really serious about an international emissions reduction plan. The President needs to exhibit leadership and spend some political capital by committing to serious domestic emission reductions and rejoining the world’s leaders in a new global strategy to tackle this urgent issue.”
Last Thursday, "veteran advocates for confronting climate change hosted a phone briefing in advance of the United Nations meeting "The Future in our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change," being held at the U.N. in New York on Monday, September 24." John Kerry was one of the participants on the call.
During the call, experts discussed this important meeting and the latest developments in the political landscape surrounding U.S. climate policy. They also examined President Bush's "Meeting of Major Economies on Energy Security and Climate Change", as well as the December U.N. climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia, which will focus on a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.
I had to miss the call, as it was the day I was driving my daughter to college, but the audio of the call is available here and the transcript is available here.
Dan Froomkin noted in his White House Watch column on Monday that "The last two times the Pew Research Center asked people to describe President Bush in a single word, chief among the overwhelmingly negative responses was the word "incompetent."" I'd say that sums it up. From the Iraq War to Global Warming... Bush is incompetent, incompetent, incompetent.
The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that "a 15-year international effort to stem global warming has not halted the buildup of greenhouse gas emissions and that governments must take "unprecedented action" to reverse the trend." Ban told delegates, "Today, the time for doubt has passed."
That the "time for doubt has passed" is of no consequence to the Bush administration, who "has conducted a concerted, behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to try to generate opposition to California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, according to documents obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform."
Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear questioned why Bush officials would go to such lengths to mobilize opposition.
"The Clean Air Act gives California the right to set its own emissions standards. Regardless of pressure, the EPA has a responsibility to allow California, and all the states that are behind us on the issue, to exercise our right," McLear said.
It's obscene that the Bush administration has turned such a blind eye to Global Warming and is pulling these political manuevers to influence the laws passed on the state level. It's obscene that Bush can't be bothered to show up at the U.N. summit, other than to attend a small dinner. Instead of attempting to make a difference and offer some real solutions, the "Bush administration will offer a variety of diplomatic carrots this week to encourage China, India, Brazil and other large developing nations to join a global effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, which are warming Earth's atmosphere."
Diplomatic carrots. How quaint. The world suffers under the leadership of America's imcompetent president.
Cross posted from The Democratic Daily.