Climate Change and President Bush’s Turnaround

So U.S. President George Bush appears to have gone from denying that climate change exists to agreeing to an actual emissions reduction target — 50%.

The problem? The target date is 2050.

No base year was identified either, so we can’t even be sure what level of emissions are to be cut in half. Each country can choose their own starting date. And don’t forget China and India have not signed on to any agreement.

The Guardian lays out the reasons why there’s little reason for excitement over the G8 pledge.

And perhaps my favourite quote, from Elliot Diringer, director of international strategies at the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change: “They’re no longer in denial about the problem, but they’re in denial of the solution.”

While Bush’s turnaround (if it can even be called that) may just be a belated attempt at burnishing his legacy as he prepares to leave the White House, Canada can hardly claim the mantle of leadership on addressing climate change: reports are that Harper pushed to water down the language of the G8 statement to avoid “overly ambitious” goals.

The Globe and Mail has a piece on the two countries’ checkered past when it comes to reducing emissions (hint: there hasn’t been much “reducing” going on – Canada’s 2006 greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 22% since 1990, the U.S.’s by 32%).

Meanwhile, Canadians are saying they want action on climate change despite high gas prices, according to a new poll. Once again, the Canadian people seem to be out ahead of their political leaders.