Foreign Policy Blogs

More Climate Change Talks

While the White House was hosting talks in Washington, Bill Clinton had world leaders and worthies of every stripe in New York talking about, among other things, climate change.  The indispensable "Financial Times" has considerable coverage here on the Energy & Climate Change discussions at the Clinton Global Initiative 2007.  The "FT" has ongoing coverage on climate change in another of their "In Depth" sections here.

Of particular interest might be the remarks from U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former board chairman of the Nature Conservancy, who told people at Clinton's gathering:  "There's a huge scientific predicate that if we don't do things today, we're not going to be able to avoid the possibility of some very, very bad outcomes 30 or 40 years from now."   

Meanwhile, in Washington, the two-day gathering of top officials called by President Bush to address climate change produced some strong words from U.S. Secretary of State Rice.  See Washington changes its tune on climate, also from the "FT."  Rice said:  "It is our responsibility as global leaders to forge a new international consensus on how to solve climate change"  Rhetoric?  Certainly.  But the mere fact that you've got the Treasury and State secretaries being more outspoken than anyone within the Bush administration has ever been is a sign of some progress.  (Here's the release on the Washington meetings from the White House.)

"Aspirational goals" is the term they've been using for getting GHG down.  (See blog post on APEC below.)  Well, that doesn't sound too stirring.  I continue to believe that real action will only take place from within our federal government when we have a new president.  That does not mean, as this blog has been noting for months, that real action isn't already being taken by states, cities, foundations, companies and NGOs within this country.  In fact, we are continuing to see real leadership from many of these entities.  When the federal government finally gets on board, in reality, we may have an excellent chance to avert the worst of the looming climate change crisis , and create a new economic and energy paradigm for our planet. 

Speaking of which, Bill McKibben, the author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, has a useful piece in the most recent "NY Review of Books" titled "Can Anyone Stop It?"  It is a review of several books, including the "skeptical environmentalist" Björn Lomborg's newest book:  Cool It.  McKibben skewers this latest offering from the radical right wing's favorite "authority."  (See my reference to the Heartland Institute in Bits and Bobs , Autumn Edition below.)  Here's a taste of McKibben's disdain:  "But Lomborg's actual arguments turn out to be weak, a farrago of straw men and carefully selected, shopworn data that holds up poorly in light of the most recent research, both scientific and economic."  There's more.  McKibben, as noted at this blog more than once, is an eloquent, lucid, passionate voice for sanity on this most crucial of environmental issues. 



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change