You mut have heard by now that the emperor of the US (I call him that because he thinks he is above the law and rules by fiat) announced a new meeting to tackle climate change issues. David Roberts of Grist broke it down and concluded that it was worse than nothing. It rejects targets, groups China and India with the developed world, which ensures that nothing will ever come out of his “meeting”, kicks everything down the road until after he has abdicated his throne in 2009, and tries to take advantage of climate change to push for free trade deals.
But this article by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post caught my attention for the rather surreal exchange between a CBS reporter and the White House spokesman.
In this instance, you have a long-term, aspirational goal,” Connaughton answered.
Aspirational goal? Like having the body you want without diet or exercise? Or getting rich without working?
“I’m confused,” Axelrod said. “Does that mean there will be targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, and that everybody will be making binding commitments?”
“The commitment at the international level will be to a long-term, aspirational goal,” the Bush aide repeated.
Axelrod had his answer. “Voluntary,” he concluded.
“Well,” said Connaughton, “I want to be careful about the word ‘voluntary.’ “
Yes, please do be careful, let’s not over promise and under deliver like we always do!
Connaughton may want to be careful, but the plan the White House outlined yesterday listed no concrete targets or dates, no enforcement mechanism and no penalties for noncompliance. It also wouldn’t take effect until four years after Bush leaves office. It was, rather, a call to spend the final 18 months of the Bush presidency forming an aspirational goal.
Umm, we’re not in 1985 any more, aspirational goals have long since been established, stabilization at 450 ppm C anyone?
I love the emperor and his merry band of climate advisers!