G8 Climate Agreement: Bush Meets the Limits of 'No' as a Policy

While Short of Goal, Outcome Shows Turning Tide; Do-Nothing Plan No Longer Viable
WASHINGTON (June 7, 2007) – Leaders meeting at the G8 summit meeting in Germany today announced an agreement to pursue “substantial” reductions in global warming pollution. While the language falls short of objectives ultimately needed to contain the problem, the accord itself demonstrates a fundamental and important shift in the international global warming policy conversation, in which the Bush administration suddenly finds itself unable to forestall meaningful action.

Here is a statement by Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
“The White House is finally coming up against the limits of ‘no’ as a policy. Today’s agreement falls short of where Chancellor Merkel and other G8 leaders wanted to be. But it shows that Mr. Bush is no longer able to keep talks bottled up as he has for the past six years. Pressure for action is simply too strong, both at home and abroad. The economic and environmental costs of delay are too big to ignore.
“The president is clearly struggling to get back to the head of a parade that is marching off without him.”
Regarding the accord itself:
“A plan to make a plan is still not a solution. Fixing the problem is going to take concrete emissions targets and legal limits on polluters to make sure we get there in time. All of the G8 countries are going to have to step up and deliver on that. China and other rapidly developing emitters are also going to have to play their role, too. But we cannot expect China to come aboard until the United States starts taking action on its own emissions. That is what leadership is about. Going forward, the conversation is going to be framed against the goals articulated here. And that is a change for the better.”