12.06.2005 | Global warming: U.S. snubs Canada, senators ask, mayors act

As global warming talks continue in Canada and the first Pacific islanders move to escape the effects of global warming, the United States has taken a specifically stubborn approach to the talks: no compromise. It's a wonder we're even there at all, considering we refuse to recognize the 1998 Kyoto agreement that led to the world's first measures to reduce carbon emissions. Canada tried to make a compromise and have talks with the U.S., China and India under a 1992 agreement, but no dice. We remain the world's number one source of carbon dioxide, providing a full 25 percent of the world's total emissions.

Meanwhile, a group of 24 U.S. Senators has asked Bush to participate in the discussions in a constructive way, arctic and tropical indigenous peoples are uniting in the fight against climate change, and 192 U.S. cities, along with a few states, are moving ahead with their own measures. It seems the only people being left behind in all of this is the Bush administration and their stubborn insistence that we do nothing to solve the problem.

Bush's complaint about Kyoto was a good point: exempting India, China and other developing nations from any final agreement on global warming is not an option. But Bush doesn't understand the patience and time needed to work out diplomatic agreements (hence our virtual silence at the global warming talks, and our overly single-minded attempts to bring in more allies in the Iraq invasion). Rather than put pressure on China, India and others to join the agreement and cut emissions, Bush has used the exemptions, along with his continued (and possibly feigned) doubt that global warming exists, to excuse the U.S. from any action entirely. It's like a child throwing up his hands when he doesn't get his way. I wish it weren't possible to make a comparison like that to our own president, but I don't know how else to describe it.

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