Currently, representatives from 190 countries are meeting in Poznan, Poland for an international climate change conference to work on the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which President Bush refused to ratify in 2001.
In an interview with AFP in Poznan, Paula Dobriansky, the chief U.S. delegate, said that she has no regrets on the Bush administration’s climate change record. If she could change anything, Dobriansky said a better job could have been done in articulating Bush’s “message”:
I think this issue (climate change) is important, we care about it greatly. Looking back, if there was anything that maybe I would have hoped, it’s that we could have done a more effective job in getting our message out, in other words, (in) public diplomacy.
Spin couldn’t have saved Bush’s record on climate change. In fact, according to the annual Climate Change Performance Index published today, the U.S. is ranked as having the third worst record of 60 countries in tackling greenhouse gas emissions.
Dobriansky also praised Bush for his “evolving” position on climate change action, claiming Bush has moved toward multilateralism at the end of his term:
She added: “President Bush said very early on in his administration, ‘we will act, we will learn and we will act again.’ And our approach has been an evolutionary one. I think you have seen an evolution from the beginning of the administration to the present time.”
There has been virtually no evolution towards climate change multilateralism under Bush. In March 2001, Bush unilaterally repudiated Kyoto and has repeatedly rejected international climate agreements since. Today is no different. The U.S. is continuing to stall progress at Poznan, still opposing a global cap-and-trade system because it is allegedly “too costly.”
It is shameful — but not surprising — that the U.S.’s chief climate representative believes that Bush’s biggest mistake on climate change is bad PR.