U.S. Resists Global Warming Policy

The Washington Post reported today on the Bush administration's efforts to suppress the conclusions of an eight-nation report that endorses broad policies aimed at mitigating global warming. The 1,200 page report, leaked to reporters last week, chronicles historic increases in Arctic temperatures due in part to human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. The State Department argued that the report, which represents the work of over 300 scientists, "lacks the evidence to prepare detailed policy proposals," according to the Post. An early draft of the policy statement -- which is set to be issued two weeks after the 144-page scientific overview is released Monday -- included a paragraph saying that to achieve the goals set under a 1992 international climate change treaty known as the Rio Accord, the "Arctic Council urges the member states to individually and when appropriate, jointly, adopt climate change strategies across relevant sectors. These strategies should aim at the reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases." The administration has pushed to drop that section. As one senior State Department official who asked not to be identified put it, "We're bound by the administration's position. We're not going to make global climate policy at the Arctic Council." And what's at stake if the U.S. government doesn't seek to curb global-warming? Those changes are already having practical impacts, including a reduction in the number of days each year that the tundra is hard enough to be driven on or drilled safely for oil. They can be expected to have even greater impact in the near future, the report predicts, in terms of agriculture, wildlife ranges for terrestrial and marine plants and animals, and global shoreline flooding because of increases in sea level caused by melting ice. Read both Washington Post articles: Juliet Eilperin and Rick Weiss, Report Sounds Alarm on the Pace of Global Climate Change Oct. 31, 2004 page A08; Juliet Eilperin, U.S. Wants No Warming Proposal Washington Nov. 4, 2004 page A13.
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