Self-interest Will Cut CO2 Emissions

Only when rising prices and supply fears force the top 10 polluters to conserve fuel will progress really be made.

Published: 04-Jun-2007

The wind has shifted direction. The acknowledgement last week by President Bush that the world needed a new treaty to curb carbon emissions, and that the US would support this, is an important back-cloth to this week's G8 economic summit in Heiligendamm on Germany's Baltic coast.

Unsurprisingly there is some scepticism at the President's sudden conversion, and since he is at the tail-end of his presidency, you could say that it is not that significant. That is true in the sense that what matters is the shift of perception that has been taking place over the past three or four years within the US; the President is merely responding to that.

It is also true that by seeking to move the debate away from the United Nations towards some new forum, the President has annoyed a lot of people. But that may be no bad thing. In practice all that is needed is agreement between the 10 countries that produce 90 per cent of global emissions. Arguably the UN is an inappropriate body for this sort of task.



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