New US Move To Spoil Climate
Mark Townsend in New York
Sunday June 19, 2005
Extraordinary efforts by the White House to scupper
Britain's attempts to tackle global warming have been revealed in leaked US government documents obtained by The Observer.
These papers - part of the Bush administration's
submission to the G8 action plan for Gleneagles next month - show how the United States, over the past two months, has been
secretly undermining Tony Blair's proposals to tackle climate change.
The documents obtained by The Observer represent
an attempt by the Bush administration to undermine completely the science of climate change and show that the US position
has hardened during the G8 negotiations. They also reveal that the White House has withdrawn from a crucial United Nations
commitment to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions.
documents show that Washington officials:
· Removed all reference to the fact
that climate change is a 'serious threat to human health and to ecosystems';
· Deleted any suggestion that global
warming has already started;
· Expunged any suggestion that human
activity was to blame for climate change.
Among the sentences removed was the following: 'Unless
urgent action is taken, there will be a growing risk of adverse effects on economic development, human health and the natural
environment, and of irreversible long-term changes to our climate and oceans.'
Another section erased by the White House adds:
'Our world is warming. Climate change is a serious threat that has the potential to affect every part of the globe. And we
know that ... mankind's activities are contributing to this warming. This is an issue we must address urgently.' The government's
chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, has dismissed the leaking of draft communiques on the grounds that 'there is everything
to play for at Gleneagles.' However, there is no doubt that many UK officials have become exasperated by the Bush administration's
refusal to accept the basic principle that climate change is happening now and is due to man's activities.
Earlier this month, the senior science academies
of the G8 nations, including the US National Academy of Science, issued a statement saying that evidence of climate change
was clear enough to compel their leaders to take action. 'There is now strong evidence that significant global warming is
occurring,' they said.
It is now clear that this advice has been completely
ignored by Bush and his advisers. 'Every year, it (local air pollution) causes millions of premature deaths, and suffering
to millions more through respiratory disease,' reads another statement removed by Washington.
Washington also appears to be unsympathetic towards
the plight of Africa, the other priority singled out by Blair for the G8 Summit in Gleneagles.
The documents reveal how the Bush administration
has pulled out of financial pledges to fund a network of regional climate centres throughout Africa which were designed to
monitor the unfolding impact of global warming.
'Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Arctic are particularly
vulnerable to climate variability and are starting to experience the impacts,' reads another excerpt rejected by the US.
Other crucial schemes ditched by the US include
the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) set up to help developing states develop economically while controlling greenhouse gas
According to the documents, the American government
has reneged on plans to 'ensure that the CDM executive board is adequately funded by the end of 2005.'