Washington Post Letter to the Editor: Economic Potshots From the G-5

July 20, 2009

Washington Post Letter to the Editor: Economic Potshots From the G-5

By: F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.

Economic Potshots From the G-5

Monday, July 20, 2009
The Post's July 16 editorial "A Glass Partly Full" presented an overly optimistic view of this month's climate talks in L'Aquila, Italy, and downplayed the more significant Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF).
The MEF is President Obama's initiative to bring together developed and developing economies (the Group of 8 countries plus Australia, Korea, Indonesia and the so-called G-5 -- Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) "to engage in a meaningful dialogue on clean energy technology and to secure a broad international agreement to combat climate change."
The MEF Leaders' Declaration was silent on emissions reduction commitments other than vague references to developed countries "promptly undertaking robust aggregate and individual reductions in the midterm" and to developing countries "promptly" undertaking "actions whose projected effects on emissions represent a meaningful deviation from business as usual in the midterm -- supported by financing, technology and capacity-building" (without specifying whether the deviation will be positive or negative).
The G-5 leaders resisted binding commitments to reduce the growth of their emissions, while calling for developed countries to reduce "their combined emissions in 2020 to a level that is at least 40 percent lower than those of 1990" -- impossible for the United States. They also demanded that developed countries "contribute a set percentage of their annual gross domestic product, in addition to their contributions to official development assistance -- to support appropriate national actions of mitigation by developing countries," and to establish "an international mechanism for the development, deployment and transfer of environmentally friendly technologies," the latter being code words for a direct assault on intellectual property.
I am in agreement, however, with the editorial's assertion, that it will indeed be a "long, fractious road to climate talks in Copenhagen."
U.S. Representative (R-Wis.)
The writer is the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

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