Saturday, May 19, 2007

Dialogue of the Deaf

Tony Blair made his farewells to George Bush this week and the President confirmed that climate change "is a serious issue and the United States takes it seriously." Meanwhile the US, represented by its chief climate negotiator Harlan Watson, was rejecting caps on US emissions and refusing to consider participating in carbon trading. The position of the US delegation was that targets and timetables were unimportant - the priority was not to jeopardise economic growth.

Although the US is about to be overtaken by China (a country with five times the population) as the biggest polluter in the world, the actions of the US are crucial to controlling carbon emissions on a global scale. Global warming is , after all, global. The Americans may believe that the economy is more important than the climate, but there are thousands of scientists who believe that to carry on as we are will damage the planet irreparably and destroy the economy at the same time. In some parts of the US government these scientists are loudly quoted, but when it gets down to business they go unheeded.

And what of Gordon Brown? Will Britain take a more robust position with the US on green issues in future? Sadly no. Gordon does not see the environment as an important priority!

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