Rhein on Energy and Climate

In his address of 16th April President Bush has for the first time admitted the need for the USA to stabilise CO2 emissions in view of coping with climate change. But allowing an additional 15-20 percent increase of emissions before capping them as of 2025 is not a deal the US government can hope to sell to its own citizens, let alone the international community.

The EU has offered to cut its green house gas emissions by 30 percent until 2020, provided the USA and other developed countries take similar commitments. This shows the type of ambition that is required, even if the EU will have to work very hard to attain such a tough goal.

Bush’s position, if confirmed by US negotiators, is bound to lead the ongoing climate negotiations into a dead end. China will not make the slightest gesture as long as the USA refuse to take a serious commitment to reduce its greenhouse emissions starting 2013, as required under the Bali process.

Fortunately, the US Congress is more serious than the US President. Both Houses are preparing legislation that will provide for cap and trade measures to start without delay.

Fortunately all three presidential candidates push for more robust action to fight climate change.

Bush is trying desperately to convince US voters that a more rapid transition towards renewable energy and higher energy efficiency would be bad for the economy. European experience proves him to be wrong. Denmark, Germany and Spain have successfully gone for more renewable energy without any negative impact on their economies.

The G8 will meet July 7th inHokkaido, Japan for a serious discussion on the global climate change agenda. Hopefully, Bush will encounter a firm and united stand from all his partners on the urgency of concerted action. The stakes are higher than ever with climate change accelerating and humanity feeling the pinch on food prices, droughts and other natural calamities.

Wake up Mr. Bush to the realities of this century! Climate change will be the overriding moral, economic and social challenge for humanity in the decades to come. Human civilisation is at stake.

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