An Open Letter to Tony Blair

Dear Tony,

You’ve just been re-elected to a history-making third term as Prime Minister of Britain and you really don’t have to lick George Bush’s boots any longer.  Although it’s too late to redefine your position supporting the U.S. on Iraq, it’s a watershed moment in the world’s approach to warming.

You are the Chairman of next month’s annual G-8 meeting in Scotland.  Seven of the eight member countries are agreed on the wording of environmental standards.  The lone holdout is America and George Bush’s unreasonable behavior toward Kyoto and the world environmental crisis.

Tell him to take a hike.  There is absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain, including a lasting place in history as the man who would not back away when principle opposed financial greed and finally succeeded.

Juliet Eilperin’s shocking article, U.S. Pressure Weakens G-8 Climate Plan, in Friday’s Washington Post hammers away at the same old issue . . .  that the Bush administration just doesn’t get it. We’re finally seeing what Dick Cheney was up to in those energy conferences he’s refused to divulge for the past four years.  Insider trading as energy policy, what else can you call it? 

No one even blinked when Phil Cooney, chief of staff on the White House Council on Environmental Quality got caught last week cooking the books on government climate change reports that were issued in 2002 and 2003. Before taking this sensitive job, Cooney headed the climate program at the American Petroleum Institute. Well, there’s an impartial guy. After being fingered last week, changing scientific findings to suit himself and his president, Cooney retired from government service.  This week he announced his new job . . . he plans to join Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest oil company, this fall.

The wording of Cooney’s edited document will help determine or, more accurately, help limit and obfuscate what action the G-8 countries take as a group to combat global warming. The members, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia are all signatories to the Kyota Protocols and all in favor of strong language and stronger actions. Unanimous, but for one.

According to Eilperin’s account, one deleted section from the G-8 working copy cited “increasingly compelling evidence of climate change, including rising ocean and atmospheric temperatures, retreating ice sheets and glaciers, rising sea levels and changes to ecosystems.” Instead, U.S. negotiators inserted a sentence reading “climate change is a serious long term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe.”

Long-term? Challenge?  Potential?  The North Pole can now be reached by boat.

So, c’mon you Group of Eight, refuse to go along.  Then perhaps you can truly hold up your heads as a group of eight instead of a group of seven dictated by one.

A bunch more environmental issues muddying the waters on my personal web site.

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