As people who are following the G-8 summit in Germany are well aware, it is highly doubtful that any meaningful accord will be reached at this meeting concerning CO2 emissions. In fact, reports out of Europe and Asia for many weeks leading up to this event have made this eventuality quite clear.
Yet, this didn’t prevent the Los Angeles Times’ Ron Brownstein for blaming the lack of such an agreement on President George W. Bush.
In an op-ed published Wednesday entitled “Don't Sugarcoat Climate Change; Calling out Bush's intransigence on emissions caps may be the best way for other G-8 countries to get the U.S. to budge on global warming,” Brownstein chose to ignore all of the facts surrounding this issue, and instead pointed an accusatory finger at the media’s favorite target (emphasis added throughout):
But on global warming, Bush arrives in a familiar position: obdurately isolated from most of Washington's traditional allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (a conservative like Bush) and most of the rest of the G-8 members want the group to commit to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as the centerpiece of an agenda to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. (Scientists say anything higher would significantly multiply the risk of disruptive climate changes.) Their hope, as one negotiator put it, is to send "an electric jolt" into ongoing United Nations negotiations aimed at formulating a successor to the Kyoto agreement on global warming.
Does anybody recognize a problem with Brownstein’s claim about Bush being isolated from allies? For instance, Great Britain made it clear weeks ago that it didn’t envision a strong agreement coming out of these talks as reported by Reuters May 23:
Britain's foreign minister on Tuesday said she expected no discussion of numerical targets for greenhouse gas emissions at a meeting of the leaders of the Group of Eight wealthy nations in Germany next month.
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett was asked by reporters in Tokyo whether she was concerned about a possible gap in climate change policy between the European Union and Japan, ahead of the summit at Heiligendamm in Germany.
"I don't think anyone envisages the idea that there should be some discussion about setting numerical targets at Heiligendamm," she said after a meeting with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Taro Aso.
"There has been a misunderstanding of the nature of the discussions that we expect," Beckett said.
Meanwhile, on May 29, Agence France-Presse reported British Prime Minister Tony Blair as having said: “Without the participation of America and the emerging economies of China and India there isn't going to be a solution.”
Coincidentally on the same day, AFP reported:
INDIA says it will reject proposals to limit greenhouse gas emissions at a summit meeting of the world's leading economies next month because stricter limits would slow its booming economy.
“Legally mandated measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are likely to have significant adverse impacts on GDP growth of developing countries, including India,” environment ministry secretary Pradipto Ghosh said.
“This in turn will have serious implications for our poverty alleviation programs,” he said.
“Legal mandates on greenhouse gas mitigation in any form will impact our growth, and this is not the path we wish to pursue.”
A day before, Deutsche Presse Agentur reported:
Beijing voiced reluctance Monday to accept far-reaching cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.
In the German city of Hamburg, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said China was a developing nation and suggested it was up to rich nations to shoulder the cuts.
Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg Times reported the following: “Although Russia ratified Kyoto in 2004, the government now looks to be reneging on its commitments.”
So, Britain was doubtful anything would get done at this summit while Russia, India, and China all voiced opposition to Kyoto.
Yet, Brownstein blamed the whole problem on Bush:
There is virtually no chance G-8 leaders will convince Bush to accept binding emissions reductions this week. At that point, the leaders committed to serious action will face a choice. They can confect a communique that hides their disagreement with Bush behind sugary language about "frank discussions" and "common goals." Or they can clearly state — in the communique or the separate chairman's statement that Merkel will publish — that they believe Bush's pathway of voluntary reductions is a dead end. Even that probably wouldn't move Bush, but it would add important voices to the U.S. business executives, ex-military officials and political leaders in Congress and the states demanding compulsory reductions in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The best way for the G-8 nations to build a genuine partnership with the U.S. on climate change is to acknowledge that such a partnership doesn't exist today. Even if that makes for a few uncomfortable moments around the dinner table.
Yes, Ron, but isn’t this all meaningless unless there is such a partnership with Russia, China, and India which not only appears doubtful but completely impossible?
As such, what we have here is a clear example of Bush Derangement Syndrome so afflicting a reporter that all facts are irrelevant. After all, Brownstein didn’t even mention Russia, China, and India in this entire article.
Color me unsurprised.