Global environmental challenges
Bush’s climate plan: good sense, “Neanderthal”, or both?
A plan by President George W. Bush to set a distant 2025 ceiling for rising U.S. greenhouse gases has triggered criticisms by Germany that he is coming up with a “Neanderthal” solution to the problem – too little too late.
Most other delegates at 17-nation U.S.-led climate talks in Paris on Thursday and Friday have been far less damning, welcoming the fact that Bush is setting a ceiling for emissions, albeit one that will be a generation after most other rich nations.
German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s office called it a plan for losers rather than leaders and denounced it as ”Neanderthal”.
But who is right?
The United States is isolated among developed nations in opposing the Kyoto Protocol, under which 37 countries are trying to cut emissions by at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. Global warming, we are always told, will only be contained if all countries work together.
“Neanderthal” was obviously meant as an insult but it strikes me that a Neanderthal solution is what the world needs — global warming was not a problem back in the Stone Age when people relied on renewable energies such as burning wood.
So who has the best strategy to fight global warming? — Bush with his belief in heavy investments in new technologies? Or Kyoto-style cuts embraced by the rest of his industrial allies? And how will the U.S. approach change after Bush steps down in 2009?