Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Better Late then Never?

It is reported by the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7263225.stm) and others that the US is ready to accept binding international obligations on reducing greenhouse gas (HGH) emissions if other nations do the same. I am not sure this is a change of position, since the main objection to Kyoto was the different treatments of the so-called BRIC (Brazil, India, and China) countries.

The statement was made Monday by Daniel Price, President Bush's deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, at a press conference in Paris. “An effective framework requires the participation of all major economies, developed and developing alike,” said Mr Price. “Europe and the US could turn out the lights today, and come 2030 or 2050 we would not have addressed the problem of climate change.”

The US comments stem largely from a process initiated by President Bush last year, rather than in support of the ongoing UN process. The latter is based upon the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which last met in Bali last year, and the Kyoto protocol and its replacement due in 2012. I imagine the US is going his own route to save face after refusing to ratify Kyoto, so I think this will change with the new administration, whoever wins. In the eleven months Bush has remaining, it is unlikely that much will come from this apparent change in direction. But at least it might get the dialog with Europe and others on a more constructive basis.

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