Planet Gore

Biden Time

The scuttlebutt is that this year’s annual “Embarrass the President on His Way to the G-8” resolution will come in the form of an amendment to the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade rationing scheme scheduled to come to the floor June 2. That is, the posturing by Sen. Joe Biden (typically with Sen. Richard Lugar) demanding that President Bush “return to the negotiating table” and stop being so irresponsible. Sure, the U.S. has the world’s most dynamic economy, and yet has still managed to reduce the rate of increase of its carbon emissions more than any Party to Kyoto (and in the odd year, even reduce them) — but where is the flashy rhetoric, the breast-beating, and the empty promises that will supposedly make people who don’t want to like us suddenly like us?
Of course, the U.S. only walked away from the “Kyoto table” once, under Clinton-Gore, in November 2000 at the Hague (COP-6 . . . you may have missed that, coming during the Florida recount — which also prompted the EU to turn the screws on the U.S. in expectation that a desperate team of Gore acolytes would accept anything to make sure there was a deal, just in case. Kudos to Clinton-Gore: they walked.)
So it is useful to read that “Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told reporters after talks among environment ministers from the G8 and major emerging countries “it’s clear now that the consensus is for an aspirational goal for 2050 rather than a firm goal.” That is the U.S. position, and the objective of the U.S.-led Asia Pacific Clean Development Partnership, the obvious alternative to Kyoto — but one that we’re not supposed to call an “alternative,” so as not to offend the UNFCCC.
All of which means that the world has come to see the wisdom of what the U.S. has been saying all along, even if they can’t quite figure out how to achieve our actual performance.

[Source: Index of Leading Economic Indicators, 2004 being the last year for universal emission data] 
So we need to cut it out. In short, the Biden amendment calls on the U.S. to stop being the world leader.

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