By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
President Obama is probably the most cautious president in recent U.S. history, so for him to take a tough stand is rare--he's too afraid of alienating someone. But he apparently did so today in Italy at the climate change summit of the G8 countries and the 9 most quickly emerging economic powers:
U.S. President Barack Obama has hailed what he said was an "historic consensus" on battling climate change between the leaders of the world's 17 leading economic powers.
"We also agree that developed countries, like my own, have a historic responsibility to take the lead. We have the much larger carbon footprint per capita," Mr. Obama said at an expanded G8 summit."And I know that in the past the United States has sometimes fallen short of meeting our responsibilities, so let me be clear, those days are over."
Still, there's no evidence that any of the leaders' discussions address the primary driver of climate change: population growth and the development it produces. President Obama cannot go near that issue, as the United States is one of the quickest-growing nations in the world, in terms of our rate of population growth. Our population has nearly doubled in my lifetime and our rate of increase is gaining, not winding down---that due largely to mass immigration.
Nor, according to the AP, have leaders resolved an ongoing discussion about who's more at fault for global warming---northern or southern nations:
Yet when Obama thrusts himself foursquare into this discussion, he will run smack into the same old problem: Neither the wealthy nor the countries in search of their own footing think the other side is doing enough. And only when the pollution emitters work together on a binding plan will a climate strategy work, experts say.
Even victory came with a setback on Wednesday. The Group of Eight set a goal of cutting all greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, but developing nations refused to go along.
Strong statements are great, but true action is even better.
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--Is a global treaty the right way to handle climate change?
By Bonnie Erbe