Here's another update from Daniel (one of our climate policy advisers). Title is his choice. I'm never sure when he's joking. Dry sense of humor and what:
Finally, Bush is doing something for the climate. On Friday, he announced that he wants to hold a conference with the 15 or so biggest CO2 emitters in the world on September 27th-28th in Washington.
This is excellent news as it saves me - and no doubt countless others in Environment Ministries’, think tanks and other NGOs an extra flight to the United States. On September 24th most of us will already be in New York, for a high level meeting on climate change that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is hosting.
Flying being about the worst thing any of us can do to the planet, this is the first time I know off where Bush is really taking action to reduce carbon emissions. Not flying to the US one extra time will save me the emissions of several years of (average) car driving. (Yes, flying really is that bad...).
Make no mistake, though – that Bush is holding this “Gang of the Bad Emitters” meeting is no change of heart. Bush remains as opposed as ever to the globally binding deep emission cuts we so urgently need. His September meeting is part of the theatre Bush is putting on in order to look busy on climate issues until he finally leaves office next year.
That he is holding the meeting at all does show that he feels under pressure - but sadly not that he is willing to act. To the contrary! This meeting, just as the APEC one his pal John Howard is putting on at the beginning of September, is in fact a dangerous attempt to divert attention away from where the real action on climate change is and ought to be: the Kyoto Protocol.
At the G8 summit in June, Bush was forced to claim that his "big emitters" meeting is a contribution to the wider UN process that must lead to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding global treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Bush administration even had to repeat that claim when they announced the September date on Friday.
The reality is though, that they are still opposed to what the Kyoto Protocol is all about: internationally binding ceilings (called caps) on emissions. They say so quite openly and you can also see it in the language they use. They keep talking about Kyoto "expiring" in 2012, for example, suggesting that Kyoto is on the way out.
This is rubbish. Kyoto’s first phase will end in 2012, no more. Kyoto will persist and the current commitments simply need to be replaced by new ones. If the planet is to be saved, this ‘second commitment period’ will have to commit industrialized countries to at least a 30% cut of emissions by 2020. That's what I and the rest of the Climate Action Network gang will be heading to the US in September to demand. Watch this space and help us getting our voice heard, by joining our energy revolution!