Major Economies Meeting a Sham
Greenpeace activists project a message to US President George Bush on the Washington Monument.
After being booed and jeered in Bali for trying to block a
successful outcome at the UN's meeting on climate change there last
month, the Bush administration continues to push its alternative
Major Economies Meeting (aka Major Emitters Meeting) this week in
Hawaii. The administration hopes to use this side meeting as an
opportunity to replace the Kyoto Protocol's legally binding
emissions reductions with voluntary measures only.
If the President was serious about leading the fight on global
warming, he would stop trying to block the success of the UN
process and commit to a cap on greenhouse gas emissions in the US.
Instead, he continues to keep the United States standing alone as
the only industrialized country that refuses to ratify the Kyoto
Greenpeace activists gathered on the National Mall the night
before the Major Economies Meeting and turned the Washington
Monument into a memorial to Bush's failed legacy on global warming.
The activists projected on the Washington Monument the message,
"U.S. Global Warming Plan: Hell and High Water", accompanied by an
image depicting rising sea levels at the base. Ironically, rising
sea levels from global warming threaten the very picturesque
islands, like Bali and Hawaii, the Bush administration is fond of
visiting to talk and do nothing.
Why "volunteerism" is a failed policy
Binding emission targets for industrialized countries are the
basis of any meaningful global agreement to fight climate change.
Bush just wants to cross his fingers and hope that technological
progress saves us. All he is willing to tell the world is: "Hey,
guys, we will do our best". That will not be good enough.
As the German Chancellor Angela Merkel observed last year, "I
don't believe that it's enough to just agree that everyone will do
their best. I don't believe that would yield an impressive
And right she is. In 2002, Bush set a voluntary target of
reducing US energy intensity 18 percent by 2012. But greenhouse gas
emissions are projected to increase by 12 percent over that period.
Voluntarism simply doesn't work.
All of the leading Democratic Presidential candidates and two of
the three top Republican candidates support binding limits on
greenhouse gas emissions through a cap and trade system. US
businesses also support binding emission caps. More than two dozen
of the largest US companies - such as Ford, General Electric, GM,
Dupont, Duke Energy and Chrysler - are calling for domestic cap and
trade legislation to start cutting American emissions now.
Bush is a 'lame duck' and will be out of office when the next
global climate agreement will be made in Copenhagen in 2009.
The world can't afford falling for Bush's Hawaii distraction.
Countries attending the meeting should resist Bush's ploy and
commit to real climate action now.
The countries participating in Bush's meeting are: Japan,
France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, China, Canada, India,
Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Indonesian, and
South Africa. While the countries most at risk from impacts of
climate change - such as small island developing states like Tuvalu
- are not even invited to be at the table.
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