2005/08/28

Bolton's hostility to the environment

As President Bush's representative to the United Nations, Bolton's hostility to the environment is of course not just a personal quirk of his, it's a problem that we can tag the whole Bush Administration with, starting naturally at the top. After about a year of negotiations, the UN is very largely happy with their 38-page document specifying their future action items. Ambassador Bolton's proposed changes to the draft number over 400, so we can see that Bolton is there to be a bomb-thrower, not to introduce gradual changes. The following is a paragraph that he proposes cutting entirely.

p. 8: CUT: “Undertake concerted global action to address climate change through meeting all commitments and obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, the UNFCCC and other relevant international agreements, increase energy efficiency, technological innovations, and to initiate negotiations to develop a more inclusive international framework for climate change beyond 2012, with broader participation by both developing and developed countries, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibility."

Now, I can understand the Bush Administration not wanting to be frozen into appearing to endorse a document that they “unsigned” in early 2001. It was just about President Clinton's last official act to sign the Kyoto Protocol and it was very quickly made clear that the Bush Administration felt that he had played a dirty trick on them. There of course was no official provision for unsigning the document, so that had to be a unilateral act by the Bush Administration.

The philosophy they used to mitigate the image that they cared more for corporate profits than for human health was the idea that they would find some technological fix for the global warming that Kyoto was meant to solve. I remember running across a one-paragraph article in 2002 saying that President Bush attended a trade show featuring technology that would make Kyoto unnecessary. Funny, I don't remember ever seeing any follow-up to that.

It would of course be entirely appropriate for the US to add language saying that it wanted to go along a different path, that they agreed that global warming was a real problem, but that they didn't like the particular solution specified in Kyoto. The Bush Administration has now said loudly and clearly that they just plain care more about corporate profits than they do about human health.

UPDATE 9/1: I saw a BBC program on the 30th that explicitly connected Global Warming to the disaster in New Orleans. According to those who answered my query, the US news media didn't show much interest in the topic. Der Spiegal also now draws an explicit connection. When will US news media take up the topic?

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