A definite pattern is emerging here. With less than two years remaining in his term, Bush has shifted to a long term, distant-target approach to the major problems confronting his administration and, by extension, his legacy as chief executive. A few days ago he was analogizing U.S. occupation of Iraq to our half-century-long military presence in Korea
, adding many years to his prior comment that continuation of the Iraq occupation would be decided by his successor in office
. Today at the G-8 Summit he is shifting real action on climate change far down the road, resisting calls by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an immediate agreement on cutting greenhouse gases and calling instead for talks with the 15 largest emitters of such gases with the aim of agreeing on cuts by the end of 2008
-- in other words, the earliest possible time frame for any commitment to act is after he is on the way out.
The very real danger of Bush's proposal to address climate change through 15-nation talks is that he will derail not only immediate action by the G-8 nations but also torpedo U.N. talks aimed at devising a replacement for the expiring 169-nation Kyoto Protocol. The prospects for agreement among the 15 largest emitters of greenhouse gases are extraordinarily bleak, as Bush knows, because that group includes China and India, and they have steadfastly resisted joining in efforts to address the global warming threat. In essence, the Bush plan is to do nothing unless and until the nations most opposed to doing anything take action. That ought to put things off for a good long while, indeed.
Labels: George Bush, Global warming, Kyoto Protocol