Friday, June 08, 2007

After ook

To judge from some headlines yesterday, you might have thought we were saved already. In fact, the ‘climate deal’ reached at the G8 is nothing much to write home about.

Yes, the G8 leaders have agreed to negotiate a UN deal by 2009 (when Dubbya will have buggered off back to Crawford). But there is still no American backing for the fixed emissions targets climate experts say are needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

We have such low expectations of our leaders that a simple pledge to negotiate can be seen as progress.

Still, Canada and Japan have moved closer to the EU’s position, while the announcement ought to buoy carbon markets. At the same time, business in the States is starting to green up its act in the expectation that, sooner or later, federal action will force them to.

It remains to be seen what concrete measures, if any, will be adopted at future negotiations. China and India must be brought on board: the damage their unchecked growth is doing to the planet is enormous. Yet the G8 nations remain, per capita, the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. It is, overwhelmingly, our mess that needs to be cleaned up.

It would seem that Tony Blair and Angela Merkel have pushed the Chimp hard on climate change. But the sacrifice of a hundred Britons in Bush’s war may not have signified a thing. Domestic pressure and corporate greening back home in the U.S. have probably had more to do with… what, exactly? George W. Bush agreeing that a spade is, in fact, possibly, come to think of it, a spade.


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