2005-08-16

US action complements hot air from Kyoto

Global warming must be taken seriously. We cannot predict the future with certainty but there is plenty of evidence on the table that something's going on and the principle of caution requires careful handling of this little planet. It’s the only one we’ve got.

The UNFCCC-initiated Kyoto Protocol was an attempt at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The good thing about Kyoto was that it took place at all, increasing global awareness. But Kyoto came too late, provided too little and was a misguided effort. The protocol fails to require action from the most rapidly growing economies, like India and China.

The American criticism of Kyoto has been substantially correct but still the Bush administration hasn’t been entirely credible on this issue. Specifically: disputing global warming is certainly a reasonable position. The scientists are far from certain about cause and effect and how to interpret our changing environment. Still, claiming that global warming might be a problem but we won’t do anything as long as others don’t do their part was an awkward standpoint for a global leader.

Now, at long last, some constructive action on the climate issue. America has taken the lead, much like we expect them to do on any issue. The six-nation initiative, announced in Vientianne, focuses on clean growth, developing new technologies as well as actively promoting good existing energy sources like civilian nuclear power. The kind we’re dismantling in Sweden, in case you forgot.
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