Unilateral Approach To Multilateralism?

I will freely admit that I have a few reservations about some of the aspects of the Kyoto Protocols. It's not so much about the idea of "fairness" in the classifications of nations considered to be still "developing", but I do think it's unwise to forego restrictions on facilities that have yet to be built simply due to economic considerations. One merely has to observe the environmental catastrophe that was the hallmark of East German industrialization to see what can happen when nobody's watching the store.

Let it suffice to say that Kyoto's not perfect, but it's good enough that we should have been an early and motivated signatory, as opposed to a stubborn adversary. I also find the arguments about the costs associated with compliance making it hard for us to compete with these nations a little thin, since it appears our corporations have decided to embrace a labor market where dollars per day have eclipsed the idea of dollars per hour. But I digress. Here's my story, and I'm sticking to it (for now):


President Bush invited representatives of major industrialized and developing countries to a climate change summit in September at the same time that the United Nations is holding a similar conclave.
"In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it," Bush said in his invitation letter Friday, asking other nations to take part in discussing a long-term strategy for reducing greenhouse emissions.

Pardon my French (I'm actually a Francophile, so don't be offended, mon amis), but it's about fucking time. Part of me doesn't want to look a gift Bush in the mouth, but another, more cynical part of me is wondering what he and his energy demi-gods are up to this time. Of course, we probably won't know until it's too late, but I'm sure the old faithful "divide and conquer" mentality is mixed up in there somewhere:

In his invitation, Bush said representatives would talk about ways the major world economies would - by the end of 2008 - agree upon a post-2012 framework that could include a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He said they also would talk about working with the private sector to promote clean energy technologies.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said he fears the meeting will be unproductive unless Bush agrees to binding emission restrictions.

"Simply restating goals without taking the steps necessary to implement them is a recipe for failure," Kerry said. "We need binding emissions targets across the economy and across borders."

Without a comprehensive, international consensus on efforts to reduce carbon emissions, we will continue to pursue purely economic, unilateral approaches to industrial relations, while we continue to poison the Earth. If our President not only refuses to engage in a true, multilateral discussion such as this, but he also feels the need to draw others away from such:

At the United Nations, nearly 100 countries speaking at the first U.N. General Assembly meeting on climate change signaled strong support for negotiations on a new global deal to tackle global warming. Clinching a deal will likely take several years of intense and difficult negotiations, which are expected to start at a December meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali. It will focus on a replacement for the Kyoto protocol, which requires 35 industrial nations to cut their global-warming emissions 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, when the accord expires.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has made climate change a top priority since taking the reins of the U.N. on Jan. 1, has urged all countries to reach a comprehensive agreement by 2009, which would leave time for governments to ratify the accord so it could take effect in 2013.

the United States will continue to be the single biggest obstruction to substantial efforts to curb global warming. This is not the kind of legacy the world of the future will look back on with kindness in its heart.


James, is there any way

you can a "t" to the title of this blog? I'm an idjit, and misspelled the word "multilateralism". Sheesh, I almost did it again. :o

Scratch that—I fingered it out.

i cynically suspect...

...the administration to exert an amount of actual effort equal to the effort that has gone into our "manned mission to mars", and i would be thrilled to be wrong.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

I have a hunch

this Bush summit is more about weakening the efforts of the U.N. than it is about actually addressing climate change.

If he can get a few countries to sign some drivel about making a "concerted effort" to change while the U.N. is still hammering out the version with teeth, he can say, "We're already working on this problem, we don't need two sets of standards, blah blah blah"