The US-hosted second climate meeting of major economies kicked
off Wednesday, but many observers believe the active posture of the
Bush administration is intended to fend off strong criticism.
The idea of bringing the world's major economies for climate
change talks was initiated by President George W. Bush in May 2007,
when the United States was under growing pressure to contribute
more to solving the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.
Although Bush repeatedly said the US government was serious
about the climate change, yet whether the enthusiasm indicates a
real shift in its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions
or merely a superficial act to ease such a blame still remains
Given the negative role that the US has played in reducing
greenhouse gas emissions, not much can be expected from the Hawaii
"This meeting could be another nonevent, or worse, a cynical
diversion," said Jeff Mikulina, Hawaii chapter director of the
Sierra Club, America's largest and most effective environmental
He told Xinhua that the US government is not serious about
climate change and he believes it will not change its policy.
Mikulina's words echoed the suspicions voiced by many in
When Bush initially announced the plan last summer, the German
Green Party's floor leader Jurgen Trittin accused the US president
of developing a "strategy for hindering climate protection".
Without the participation of the countries most affected by
climate change, Bush just wants to "sit down together with the
biggest polluters to delay any binding emissions reductions targets
for as long as possible", Trittin said.
Upset by the US refusal to deal with the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Bali, Indonesia,
the European Union (EU) even threatened to boycott the Hawaii
Humberto Rosa, chief delegate from Portugal, which held the
rotating EU presidency, warned that if the world major countries
including the United States make no compromise on limiting carbon
emissions, the EU would boycott the Hawaii meeting.
Huang Jing, former senior fellow in the Brookings Institution, a
leading think tank in the United States, believed the Bush
administration's move has reflected at least that the energy and
environmental issues have drawn attention from the US policy
"I tend to see the increasingly 'active' involvement of the
United States in the global effort to secure energy supply and
improve environment is a positive signal," Huang told Xinhua.
The US government and people have realized that it takes a
global effort to address these global issues and therefore
Washington began to be seriously interested in others' opinions,
views, and approaches, Huang said.
But as the biggest energy consumer and polluter, what the United
States is attempting to do is far from enough. "As the world's No.
1 superpower, the US needs to play a leading role in such a global
effort," Huang said.
Former US Vice President Al Gore also urged the US policy makers
to change laws, not just change "light bulbs" in tackling global
"In addition to changing the light bulbs, it is far more
important to change the laws and to change the treaty obligations
that nations have," said the climate campaigner last week, in
apparent reference to what he considers as the Bush
administration's reluctance to initiate legislation on
(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2008)