Saturday, May 26, 2007

More on U.S. Rejection of Climate Change Proposal

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Joe Gandelman has an excellent post on the ramifications of Pres. Bush's refusal to sign on to the G8 proposal on climate change:

Despite recent press reports suggesting that the United States might at least start to inch towards the same page on greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. has rejected a German proposal that reportedly enjoyed great support in Europe — sharply pitting the Bush administration against European governments more than ever on environmental issues[.]

The German proposal has the support of Japan as well, which increases the impact of U.S. obstructionism on this issue [bolds in original]:
Just how isolated the United States now is on this issue is underscored by another fact brought out in the New York Times piece linked above:
It had been a foregone conclusion that the Western European members of the Group of 8 — Germany, Italy, France and Britain — would back the reductions. But on Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan threw his lot in with the Europeans, and proposed cutting carbon emissions as part of a new framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose mandatory caps on gases end in 2012.

Consequently, the Times reports, European diplomats are “furious” and one says the United States remains “virtually isolated.”

Joe makes the additional crucial point that this is not just about climate change:
The problem with a country becoming isolated on key issues is that the spillover reduces the country’s overall clout on other matters. Politicos in Congress may work with the Bush administration on issues of joint self-interest despite huge disagreements on some issues but the administration’s clout has shrunk.

Similarly, look for opposition to the Bush administration to increase in Europe as European governments and their increasingly assertive leaders begin to conclude that the U.S. isn’t interested in consensus (something the Bush administration usually ignores in domestic policy and which most other American administrations of both parties have tried to create). These EU government leaders will likely start to count down the days until Bush and his unique American administration leave office. Just as many members of Congress of both parties are already doing.

Joe includes the commentary of several other bloggers as well.

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