- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2007

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, The Washington Times today incorrectly stated the position of Kit Batten, director of energy and environmental policy at the Center for American Progress. Ms. Batten said she was afraid that U.S. conferences on global warming would “pull away a lot of large emitting nations that have committed to the Kyoto process.”

The Bush administration today opens a two-day, 17-nation conference on global warming that, despite reports to the contrary from the White House, is seen by some as a rival to the United Nations‘ set of talks on the issue.

President Bush will speak tomorrow to what the White House calls the “major economies meeting,” hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the State Department.

Miss Rice, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Yvo de Boer, the chief U.N. climate-change negotiator, will address the conference today.

Participants aim to forge a global consensus about how to curb carbon dioxide emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. The White House casts the conference, which Mr. Bush announced in May, as a follow-up to the U.N. talks.

“We expect the results in 2008 from the major economies process to contribute to a global agreement under the U.N. framework by 2009,” said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore.

Representatives from the 17 countries with the largest amounts of carbon emissions, along with U.N. representatives, are attending the meetings in Washington.

“If the major economies can agree on a way forward, that would accelerate prospects for an agreement at the U.N.,” Miss Lawrimore said.

Mr. de Boer said yesterday that the meetings will “feed back into the U.N. process,” but he added that the United Nations is “the most appropriate global venue” to address climate change.

The United States refused to sign on to Kyoto because the developing economies of China and India were exempt from the mandatory emission caps. Mr. Bush instead emphasizes the use of technology and alternative fuels, and insists on allowing each country to set its own emission-reduction goals.

The president was absent from a U.N. climate meeting Monday in New York, adding to speculation that the Washington meetings were scheduled as a way to rival the U.N. talks.

“It represents competition, which is why I like it, frankly. It’s a way of drawing the Chinese and Indians in, and Brazil, and those folks have made it clear they’re not going to join Kyoto, too,” said Steve Hayward, an environmental analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. “In the same way we started NATO for collective security in the 1940s because the U.N. wasn’t going to work, Bush is saying we’re going to set up a separate framework for climate change.”

Kit Batten, director of energy and environmental policy at the Center for American Progress, said she did not think the U.S. meetings would “pull away a lot of large emitting nations that have committed to the Kyoto process.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, requested in a letter on Monday that Mr. Bush “not start a separate process competing with negotiations under the United Nations Framework.”

Others say the U.S. conference is simply a way for the Bush administration to influence talks taking place within the U.N. framework.

“It’s a subset that tilts the playing field in the U.S. favor, but ultimately will make a post-Kyoto agreement more possible,” said Alex Cannon, a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide