Was quite interested to see that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has openly stated that “climate change is a real problem.” A statement that has taken a long time to come.

At a meeting, held in DC, of the 16 most polluting countries, the BBC reports that Rice “challenged leaders to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels by moving toward energy sources that would reduce global warming – but without harming their economies.” This strikes me as good common sense — and fairly reiterates what is an appropriate approach to ecological issues.

The key issue seems to be over having voluntary over binding emission cuts. On the one hand making “obligatory” moves has caused a rift and a “with us or against us” sentiment (eg Kyoto) — setting the right objectives are fundamental in this case. On the other hand, if it is voluntary then it mean a more genuine effort (depending on the inevitable political machinations).

I feel that given the growing swell among consumers, there will be enough democratic pressure to push [democratic] governments to do what is necessary. The issue in these democratic countries will be to make sure the [green] voters can have their voice heard on this specific issue. And this, of course, does not resolve the issue for the less or non democratic countries. If both India and China are more in favor of voluntary cuts, that would be strong motivation to lean that way. A few more worldwide disasters caused by volatile climate changes will surely help to sharpen the collective mind and focus in the run up to the expiry of Kyoto (2012) and, hopefully, the creation of a new globally united front on the issue.

The good news is that fighting global climate change may at last become a bipartisan topic. The bad news is that Rice’s statements come a little late in the 8-year Bush reign to be fully genuine. President Bush will be addressing the conference tomorrow.

Interesting blog on the topic The Swamp.
Sandwalk and News As Gossip also started a thread based on Rice’s comments.

Here is the BBC report.

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