Against the backdrop of ongoing international climate talks in Buenos Aires, Argentina, sources close to British Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed rumors last week that Great Britain is trying to involve the United States in a new international treaty on global warming that emphasizes technological fixes while promoting the development of renewable energy. Blair reportedly met with Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona to work on strategies for getting White House agreement on a new treaty, which some analysts have dubbed “Kyoto-lite.”
The U.S. has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which mandates significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by developed nations and has been ratified by 126 countries. The Bush administration opposes the Kyoto provisions on the grounds that it would impact the U.S. economy and that it is too soft on curbing emissions by developing countries.
Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, Bush administration officials have been touting American efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through innovation, not regulation. According to U.S. climate negotiator Harlan Watson, the Bush administration is planning to spend more than $5 billion a year developing cleaner fuels and finding ways to manage and store carbon dioxide. “We match or exceed what any other country is doing to address the issue,” he said. “I would challenge any of the Kyoto parties to match us both internationally and domestically.”