Bush Wins on Global Warming

By June 8, 2007Global Warming

Contrary to the conventional wisdom in the media and elsewhere, the final document on global warming issued by the Group of Eight shows George W. Bush to be a skilled and successful diplomat on global warming, argues The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel in today’s Potomac Watch. Big-government Kyotoists have been bested.

Don’t expect anyone to admit it. When Mr. Bush unveiled his new climate framework last week, calling on the world’s powers to reduce greenhouse emissions, it was portrayed as a capitulation. He’d removed the last “obstacle” to world unity on this issue, and seen the error of his ways. At this week’s Democratic presidential debate, every candidate vowed to fix the damage Mr. Bush had done to America’s international reputation, his Kyoto failure the obvious example.

There’s been a capitulation on global warming, but it hasn’t happened in the Oval Office. The Kyoto cheerleaders at the United Nations and the European Union are realizing their government-run experiment in climate control is a mess, one that’s incidentally failed to reduce carbon emissions. They’ve also understood that if they want the biggest players on board–the U.S., China, India–they need an approach that balances economic growth with feel-good environmentalism. Yesterday’s G-8 agreement acknowledged those realities and tolled Kyoto’s death knell. Mr. Bush, 1; sanctimonious greens, 0.

On Tuesday, The National Review also editorialized in praise of President Bush’s diplomatic skills, which are realistic toward China and India’s emissions and emphasize technology transfer.

Bush has firmly rejected hard emissions caps and international tradable-emissions schemes (cap and trade). In his recent remarks, he emphasized that emerging nations such as China and India should be able to set their own emissions goals relative to their economic circumstances, and press above all for technology transfer. Translation: Any realistic greenhouse-gas-emissions program will have to recognize that developing nations such as China and India must grow. This is true also of the U.S., whose economy continues to expand even as Europe stagnates. At least for the intermediate term, the emissions of such nations will grow too. By proposing to convene the Big 15 emitters under U.S. leadership, Bush threatens to eclipse the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which brought us Kyoto. Not bad for a day’s work.

Not our first reaction, we’ll admit, but they both make a good argument.

And, oh, Kyoto? It’s OK. You can let go now. Really, you had a good ten years of life after the Senate killed you by voting 95-0 in 1997. It’s time to rest.

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