Listening to a BBC report on the G8 summit that gets underway today, I was struck by an the acerbic pun added by the card-reader. He said something to the effect of "The question will be whether the US gets in the global tent or chooses to remain out in the cold."
To start, while the US economy is growing faster than the EU's (3.4% to 2.8%), the EU is pounding the former when it comes to emissions growth (EU's advantage, 2.4% to 1.3%). In terms of international diplomacy, the US' greatest weakness is that, generally, it takes its treaty obligations seriously. Our leaders cannot simply hold a pen, sign with an earnest face, and then disregard what they've just committed themselves to in favor of doing whatever the heck they want without being heavily scrutinized. Only a couple of the 166 or so countries that have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocols have met their obligations. In terms of accomplishing the goals it set, Kyoto has been an abject failure.
Kyoto took a decade to iron out, and almost none of the countries involved are adhering to it. Whatever room is left for climate change discussions--after the headline-grabbing, ominous barb-trading between the US and Russia--will be a dog-and-pony show of little consequence. Fine. Moral posturing, not actual behavior, is what's behind much of the CAGW charade anyway.
But what got under my skin was the assertion the BBC reporter made: The world, excepting the US, is on board with the IPCC. Nevermind that the IPCC is roughly the equivalent of USA Today in the newspaper world--lots of name recognition, well-circulated and subscribed to, but derided by most serious consumers of news as being amateurish, to be taken with a grain of salt. More importantly, much of the world isn't on board.
The US and Australia, despite overtures made by their respective leaders, are not (under the terms of the Kyoto Protocols, Australia is allowed to increase its emissions by eight percent by 2010, yet the Aussies still refused).
China and India continue to argue that the developed world should handicap itself, not those nations that are relatively innocuous given the size of their populations. China will add at least five pounds of CO2 emissions for every pound all of the Kyoto ratifiers combined would reduce if all of them met their obligations (and, as mentioned, virtually none of them are), while India will match the whole of them tit-for-tat (these two countries have increased their emissions by 47% and 55%, respectively, since 1990).
Despite opposition from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Putin eagerly ratified to hedge against internationalist human rights groups and to cash in on carbon credits (as post-Soviet Russia is well below its Kyoto obligation of zero emissions growth between 1990 and 2010).
These countries alone represent nearly 45% of the world's population. Throw in those countries that aren't party to the CAGW crowd, and we're looking at about half of humanity.