EU Environment Commissioner 'Not Impressed' with George Bush

Stavros Dimas, the European Union Environment Commissioner released the following statement to the press regarding the U.S. and the recent plea made by George Bush that 15 major countries meet and talk about goals to prevent climate change: “The declaration by President Bush basically restates the U.S. classic line on climate change — no mandatory reductions, no carbon trading and vaguely expressed objectives.” Some would suggest that Europeans just love to give America a hard time, so it’s hard to know on its face whether this statement should be taken as fact or not.

At first glance, it seems premature to release a statement condemning a country’s policy before even attending the proposed climate change summit. However, as patterns do often repeat themselves, perhaps this statement makes sense if it is considered in a historical context. Mr. Dimas does make sure to include some hard fact in his assessment of the George Bush announcement; “Mandatory reductions, carbon trading and specific commitment and timetables have allowed the EU to reduce its emissions by 1.5 percent in 2005 under the 1990 levels, while the U.S. has increased them by more than 16 percent in the same period,” Dimas had said. In light of this evidence, it certainly seems likely that this climate change summit as proposed by George Bush is all talk and probably very little action.

In holding on tight to optimism, there is always the possibility that some good can come out of all this. The EU does have a major investment in making sure the U.S. position in the world is very tenuous, as this gives them a big advantage in foreign policy and trade relations with the U.S., so it is possible that the EU is trying to keep America on the ropes. The good news about this scenario is that the best way for George Bush and America as a whole to regain political and moral clout on the environmental issue is to actually deliver a firm commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, there is some hope that positive steps will be taken, because this time, the proper political decision happens to be aligned with the proper moral decision.