Today President George W. Bush's own special, invitation-only, climate change summit is wrapping up in Washington D.C. Earlier this week the United Nations held a conference of all members on the same suibject. Secretary of State Rice attended on behalf of the U.S. Bush could not allow the hoi polloi of the U.N. to dictate to him, so he called together an elite fifteen nations he considered important enough to decide the fate of the planet. In Washingtonian lingo the conference was liltingly dubbed "Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change." That's MEMESCC for all the acronymically-infected.
Those attending MEMESCC are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, United Kingdom, the EU, the EC, and the UN. On that list China and the U.S. are #1 and #2 in providing ever-increasing amounts of greenhouse gases to the Earth's atmosphere. Here's the text of Bush's prepared remarks for the conference. Here's a quote that you would NEVER have heard from a Bush speech when he was still seeking votes: "By setting this goal, we acknowledge there is a problem, and by setting this goal, we commit ourselves to doing something about it. We share a common responsibility: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while keeping our economies growing.''
Here's the New York Times report on the speech. Here's the Washington Post version. Both agree that Bush is playing to a whole new audience. With Karl Rove gone and no more elections to face, it appears this President Bush is playing to the history books. Perhaps some of those very same texts he pounded so hard on his way to near Phi Beta Kappa status as a Yalie. I get to be snide here because I have a son who did go to Yale as well. And my son really was Phi Beta Kappa. And his dad had no pull and was no help in his son getting admitted. But then Bush comes from that elite group that gets invited to things like MEMESCC.
Though Bush is now claiming climate change policy as part of his Presidential legacy, he makes it very clear that nobody is gonna tell his
ranch country how to control greenhouse emissions or curtail global warming. Nothing mandatory. It's every nation for itself, and lots more money for study and research. Lots and lots more money. That, of course, is the temporary good news for green tech firms. Bush now pushes for international climate research fund. "Temporary" in the sense that green tech firms need to be looking to their elevation planning. Don't get too close to the edge of a continent as the seas rise, now that G.W. has given his political blessing to global warming as a fact, not a left-wing theory.
Real estate hint: don't buy any land less than 100 feet above sea level.
How did the Washington conference play? Not to resounding elation around the globe. Here's AP's version of what one attendee to MEMESCC: "One of the striking features of this meeting is how isolated this administration [Bush] has become. There is absolutely no suppport that I can see in the international community that we can drive this effort on the basis of voluntary efforts,' John Ashton, a special representative on climate change for the British foreign secretary, said in an interview."
In a parallel universe there was a different conference, up in New York City. It was Bill Clinton's Global Initiative gathering. They heard about how badly Africa is faring with climate change. No surprise there, as the poorer people or nations usually have the worst time of it, the fewest options along with the least control of their own destiny.