Lefties try to change the subject when you point out that in the war on terror, President Dronestrike’s policies—though not his rhetoric—represent a continuation or extension of the policies of George W. Bush. (I wonder if Obama will renew his pledge to close Guantanamo at the beginning of his second term?)
But there’s another area where Obama has come round to the Bush approach: climate policy. Yesterday Obama signed a bill that will block the European Union’s attempt to impose a climate tax on international air travel. As the Wall Street Journal notes this morning, “It’s good to know there’s at least one tax this Administration doesn’t like.” As usual, environmentalists are—wait for it—not happy:
Environmentalists had framed the bill as the first test of the president’s commitment to fighting climate change in his second term and urged him to veto it. Obama quietly signed it Tuesday over their objections.
But that’s not the only step the Obama Administration has taken that adopts the Bush Administration’s outlook. When Bush initiated the Asia-Pacific Partnership around 2004, a group of nations that included a higher share of global greenhouse gas emissions than the Kyoto Protocol’s “Annex I” group, environmentalists screamed that Bush was doing an end-run around the UN. Can’t have that! Rather than junk the Asia-Pacific Partnership, the Obama Administration renamed it the “Major Economies Forum,” and kept at it, with the sensible understanding that there can be no serious climate agreement without the real participation of the BRIC block (Brazil, Russia, India, and China; of those, only Russia was a party to the Kyoto Protocol).
So it is interesting to see this news report from EurActive.com:
EXCLUSIVE / The US is considering a funnel of substantive elements of the Doha Climate Summit away from the UN framework and into the Major Economies Forum (MEF), a platform of the world’s largest CO2 emitters, EurActiv has learned.
Since 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has provided an umbrella for talks to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, and on 26 November, will host the COP18 Climate Summit in Qatar.
But it has been confirmed to EurActiv that Washington is increasingly looking to shift policy action to the MEF whose members account for some 85% of global emissions, and which the US views as a more comfortable venue for agreeing climate goals.
If the idea gains traction, it could demote the UNFCCC to a forum for discussing the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions reductions projects, sources say.
And the CIA has shut down its Center on Climate Change and National Security. Guess the top spooks aren’t so spooked by the subject any more.
If a Republican president were doing all this (as indeed Bush started to do), environmentalists would be screaming from the rooftops. But since it’s Obama, not so much.
There’s a lot of ways to look at this beyond the hypocrisy and partisanship of the corrupt environmental movement. It can be seen as a bid for Obama seriously to press the failing UN climate agenda in a new guise. Perhaps so, and we shall have to be on our guard against this, though I suspect not even a new format will change the sensible position of India and China about accepting an agenda of energy poverty for their people. Even so, this looks like the beginning of the end of the UN portion of the climate crusade. Back in the early 1990s, as it became increasingly apparent that global population growth was moderating for reasons wholly unrelated to the UN population program, the UN officially downgraded the “population bomb” as a premier problem for their attention. I suspect the same thing will occur with the UN and climate in a few years. This doesn’t mean either climate change alarmism or the UN’s kleptocratic central purpose will abate. They’ll find new excuses at Turtle Bay to demand our money.