The member nations of the European Union seem surprised that a Bush administration which has for years denied scientific consensus so they could better serve corporate interests is still dragging its feet.
The European Union accused the United States on Thursday of blocking goals for fighting climate change at U.N. talks in Bali and threatened to boycott U.S. talks among top greenhouse gas emitting nations.The Bushies moved the goalposts at the last minute to throw a spanner in the works? Yah don't say!
The December 3-14 Bali talks are split over the guidelines for starting two years of formal negotiations on a deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, a U.N. pact capping greenhouse gas emissions of all industrial nations except the United States until 2012.
"If we would have a failure in Bali it would be meaningless to have a major economies' meeting" in the United States, Humberto Rosa, Portugal's Secretary of State for Environment, said on the penultimate day of the talks.
...The EU wants Bali's final text to agree a non-binding goal of cuts in emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 for industrial economies. The United States, Japan and Canada are opposed, saying any figures would prejudge the outcome.
...Washington submitted a new text to the talks around midnight on Thursday that stressed voluntary goals for greenhouse gases rather than binding Kyoto-style caps for developed countries.
For those who have been following the diplomatic obstructionism practised by the White House over Iran's nuclear program - where the Bush administration demands that Iran stop enrichment before negotiations can begin on whether Iran should stop enrichment - will love this bit of hypocrisy:
"Those who are suggesting that you can magically find agreement on a metric when you are just starting negotiations, that in itself is a blocking element," said James Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.This from the same James Connaughton who pressured the EPA to dramatically weaken the wording of its public statements about the air quality in New York City in the days after the September 11, 2001 attacks and who is a former lobbyist for the power industry and various large electricity users. Has there ever been a Bush administration apparatchik who opened his or her mouth in good faith?
The Euros are asking for a non-binding agreement on a goal, to show willing. If only the Bush administration would take lessons on understanding the diplomatic process when it comes to Iran. But what the EU needs to realise is that a European boycott of any further talks would be regarded as a success by the White House.