Coverage of Bush Climate Change Event 4

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 28 Sep 2007 17:40:00 GMT

Coverage of the Bush administration’s Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change from around the Web, the event keynoted by the president, who was pointedly absent at the UN’s similar event.

DeSmogBlog, U.S. hosts climate-change conference and promptly digs in its heels:
Curiously, or perhaps not, Rice’s remarks echoed those of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper two days earlier, when he told delegates at UN Headquarters that Canada favors an approach that balances global-warming mitigation with economic growth. Harper’s remarks were so in-keeping with the U.S. position they could have been framed by the White House.
ED’s Climate 411, Our Message to the White House Major Emitters Meeting:
A big challenge like global warming requires action and leadership from the United States. And everyone in this room knows what few have been willing to say aloud: No caps, no real progress. The world cannot sufficiently address the climate challenge until the U.S. embraces binding short- and long-range declining caps – determined by what the scientists say is necessary.
Reuters, FACTBOX-Bush’s evolving policy on global warming:
March 28, 2001 – Stating his opposition to the 1997 Kyoto treaty on global warming, Bush says it is against U.S. economic interests and unfair as big developing countries like China and India escape binding emissions pledges.

June 11, 2001 – Shortly before his Europe tour, Bush says it remains uncertain how much of global warming is caused by humans and pledges to use science and diplomacy to fight it….

July 6, 2005 – Bush for the first time says he recognizes that “an increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans is contributing to the problem” of global warming, during a visit to Denmark on his way to the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Scotland….

APEC Climate Agreement 27

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 07 Sep 2007 23:03:00 GMT

According to the Associated Press, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit set a voluntary target of reducing energy intensity (the ratio of energy consumption per unit of GDP) 25 percent by 2030. In addition, Australia and Russia announced an agreement on a “long-term global aspirational goal for stabilising and then reducing greenhouse gas emissions” and to “allow the supply of Australian uranium for use in Russia’s civil nuclear power industry.”

As the BBC explains, the reductions in energy intensity would not lead to any reduction in GHG emissions. In fact, a 49% reduction in energy intensity by 2050, given projected economic growth, translates to a rise in greenhouse gas emissions of about 15%.

Andrew Dessler has more at Gristmill on what he calls the “intensity scam.”

APEC

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 06 Sep 2007 12:02:00 GMT

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit is this weekend in Sydney, Australia, and President Bush will be there. APEC includes 21 countries surrounding the Pacific Ocean, including the US, Australia, China, Mexico, and Japan. A primary topic of discussion will be climate change, which the administration is highlighting.

On September 4, Bush and Prime Minister Howard released a joint announcement on climate change that “agreed today on the importance of confronting the interlinked challenges of climate change, energy security and clean development” and the goal of achieving an international agreement in Bali that “provides for effective action from all the major emitting nations toward the UNFCCC objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. The upcoming APEC statement on climate change and the outcome of the Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change in Washington DC on Spetember 27-28 will indicate the US negotiating position for the UN conference.

What specifics are in the agreement?

On the White House website EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson will be taking questions on Friday, September 7 at 12:45 pm EDT.

AVAAZ has a international petition calling for action on global warming at the APEC summit with over 400,000 co-signers.

In the press briefing, Dan Price, deputy national security advisor for international economic security affairs, said,
The U.S. is working closely with Australia and other APEC countries to address broadly the challenges posed by climate change. Among the topics for discussion will be energy efficiency, forestry, technology development, alternative energy, low-carbon energy, and importantly, continuing efforts to reduce barriers to trade in environmental goods and services.

In response to a question, Price indicated that climate change will be an issue in the bilateral discussions for many of the countries, not just Australia.

And the President has made it very clear, both in Heilingendamm during the G8 meetings, that the problem of climate cannot be responsibly addressed unless all of the major economies are at the table, including those represented by the developing world. And nine of those are APEC members. So working cooperatively with our APEC partners, as we’ve begun to do under the Asian Pacific Partnership, and carrying that plan forward through the bilateral leader meetings and through the summit discussions is very high on the agenda.
Jim Connaughton, Chairman of the Council of Environmental Quality, had this to say:
As you know, we had the big breakthrough in Heilingendamm this year, right after the President’s speech on May 31st, and that’s with sort of the G8 grouping. At that time we had the plus-5, but they were not part of the leaders declaration on this. This is our chance in the APEC region, which represents these 21 nations, and a good combination of developing and highly-developed nations, to really set the foundation in that region for a shared understanding on a way forward on the energy security and climate issues.

So we’ll take what occurred in Europe and now try to advance that in terms of toward common consensus in Asia. We’ve been very encouraged because a lot of the thinking behind the President’s proposal in May was a result—you asked about Asia and how much time we’re spending there. Well, I’ve spent a ton of time in Asia, talking with the leadership in China, Japan, South Korea. I was just in Indonesia. So there’s a lot of interest in the Asia Pacific region taking on more of a proactive role in this area.

And I think you’ll see that with Prime Minister Howard. He put this on the agenda for the first time in APEC since it was formed. So that’s a big shift. And we’re hearing from Indonesia, China, South Korea, these countries that didn’t have obligations before—you’re hearing some very positive statements from their leadership on the importance of this integrated agenda on energy and clean air and climate. And that’s because the region is growing so fast, too. They’re struggling with these environmental challenges in a more consequential way now. And that, I think, paves the way for more constructive conversation.