It's Time to Get Tough with the US Over Climate, say Scientists and Technologists

Press release, 5 July 2005
 

George Bush's latest comments on climate change in an ITV interview in advance of the G8 summit demonstrate an unacceptable level of intransigence on the issue, says Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) and Architects and Engineers for Social Responsibility (AESR). President Bush's comments which include rejection of any agreement that would set national targets for greenhouse gas emissions and a preference for long-term technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells over near-term action should be met with a tough response, say the two groups. As well as not watering down any G8 agreement to suit the US, such a response should include the drawing-up of possible economic penalties such as import duties on carbon intensive goods.

Dr Stuart Parkinson, Director of SGR, said "The continued hostility of the US Administration to taking strong action on climate change is simply unacceptable given the strength of scientific evidence of the dangers. While long-term innovation is important, it should not be prioritised over near-term technologies like renewable energy neither should critical political and economic action to encourage changes in consumer behaviour be neglected."

Martin Quick, Vice-Chair of AESR, said "The G8 should support negotiations within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for an agreement to follow Kyoto which is both effective and fair between countries at different stages of development. The principle of 'Contraction and Convergence' as proposed by the UK based Global Commons Institute could be the basis of such an agreement. In this, a global cap on greenhouse gas emissions is set which progressively reduces at a rate agreed to limit the risks from climate change, and within this total, each country's emissions quotas progressively converge to an equal per capita amount, and emissions trading is permitted. By including developing countries, such a framework would remove one of the major US objections to Kyoto."

Notes:

  1. The interview with George Bush was on the ITV programme Tonight with Trevor MacDonald (8pm, Monday 4th July)
  2. SGR is a UK organisation of approximately 600 scientists and technologists promoting ethical science and technology - based on the principles of openness, accountability, peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability. For more information see http://www.sgr.org.uk/
  3. AESR is a UK organisation of approximately 250 engineers and architects which works closely with SGR and has similar concerns.