The Obama administration is hoping to win new commitments to fight global warming from China and India in back-to-back summits next month, the Guardian has learned, including the first Indian emissions trading scheme.
The US hopes the new commitments will breathe life into the moribund negotiations to seal a global treaty on climate change in Copenhagen in December, by setting out what action each country will take. But many observers say such bilateral deals also risk seriously weakening any Copenhagen agreement by allowing the idea of a global limit on greenhouse gas emissions to be abandoned.
So, as part of Blog Action Day 2009, which is focusing on climate change, I bring you news that the US administration is back, taking some kind of a leadership role in climate change by talking to India and China. The notion that somehow what the US, Europe and Canada do in response to climate change is pointless because China and India are not going to participate is misleadingly inaccurate, sometimes deliberately so. I had written in June about India’s very ambitious solar policy, and China has similar, fairly comprehensive programs on climate change.
The concern that bilateral talks will somehow sabotage the multilateral Copenhagen negotiations is, I think, overstated. More talk is always better, and good things happen when the world’s most high profile polluter signals its willingness to talk, and even initiate talks with countries whose development paths are at a critical stage.
I have not been super hopeful about how things are going to turn out in the next few years. But things have changed quite a bit in the past year. The US appear to have their own climate bill brewing. Europe makes the right noises and has a head start,making the mistakes early. Unfortunately, Canada has given up the ghost thanks to our troglodyte oil man administration. Our main hope now is that the US passes a strong enough bill to affect Canada. Or there is an election leading to a change in administration and Mr Michael Ignatieff and the “liberals” are true to their word on a new, sustainable energy policy.
Canada is now the worst laggard, having extremely high per capita emissions and policy to increase these emissions while actively sabotaging climate talks. We emit a full 2% of all global warming contributors while accounting for about 0.5% of the world’s population. It is understandable given our development path how we got there, but not trying to fix it is criminally negligent and morally bankrupt.
Apparently, the Canadian people could care less, polls indicate that the business as usual administration is increasing its support among Canadians. What is the average Canadian’s responsibility if he/she knowingly supports policy that could lead to mass homelessness, flooding, starvation, wars, species extinction, etc?