In an atmosphere of seemingly endless America-blaming apologies spewing from the Obama administration, a British newspaper apparently figured no one would question the one they invented yesterday. They were wrong – Hey, US environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg, where exactly did Hillary issue an apology for “America's role in causing climate change?” Oh sure, the Guardian’s headline was quite declarative -- US admits responsibility for emissions to bring big polluters together. And its lead was no less misleading, stating that “The Obama administration issued a mea culpa today on America's role in causing climate change.” But if any such apology took place at yesterday’s Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, it certainly didn’t appear in the words the British newspaper so ascribed. Nor, for that matter, anywhere in the speech itself.
The statement in question arose during Hillary Clinton’s response to developing countries’ concerns that they were being unfairly asked to forgo growth in response to a problem not of their making. The Guardian reported that “Clinton said America recognised industrialised countries bore a major responsibility for the greenhouse gas pollution that had led to climate change” when she admitted that "Some countries like mine are responsible for past emissions."
But in deliberately omitting Clinton’s previous and subsequent sentences, London’s most climate hysterical newspaper entirely misrepresented her meaning.
Here’s how it sounded when the NY Times -- of all publications -- reported the same comments both in context and somewhat in toto:
Clinton assured China and other emerging nations that the United States "wants you to grow" and is intent on finding solutions that will allow countries to combat climate change without stunting development.
"Of course, each economy here is different. Some, like mine, are responsible for past emissions; others for fast-growing current emissions," she said. "We may be at different stages of development ... but we all have to do our part."
In fact, contrary to singling out America, Clinton said that as major economies, all 17 of the world’s greatest “polluters” in attendance yesterday “are responsible for the majority of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
Sure, there’s been a pattern of unnecessary and undue apologies on behalf of the republic spewing from the Obama administration, begging the world’s pardon for everything from the war on terror to our life-saving interrogation techniques. Clinton herself has wrongly and disgustingly blamed the US for 90% of the guns used by Mexican drug gangs and were she to suggest the swine flu the result of global warming, United States immigration policy, or both, you can certainly color me unsurprised.
But the Secretary of State wasn’t even suggesting that America take on the lion’s share of emissions responsibility, as clearly suggested by the Guardian. Only that abatement policies adhered to by past emitters (the US AND the EU) will have no impact short similar actions coming from the so-called “developing” nations, one of whom – China – has now surpassed the US in such emissions.
Indeed, the administration is all too aware that the original Kyoto Protocol’s death in the US had nothing to do with the Bush Administration but instead a unanimous 1997 Senate vote. That decision was based primarily on the accord’s potential to do “serious harm” to our economy while not including similar binding targets and timetables for developing nations. That same reasoning has sounded the death knoll for virtually all domestic cap-and-trade attempts, and will likely do the same at December’s Battle of Copenhagen, where China and India will squawk much but offer little.
Of course, no plan -- regardless of planetary participation percentages -- is likely to have any real impact on rising atmospheric CO2 levels and no such impact is likely to have any meaningful effect on global temperatures in any event.
But by painting a picture of a culpable and contrite society, alarmists such as those at the Guardian hope to put more pressure on the United States to take unilateral action. A transparent and desperate ploy not likely to hamper the freefall Obama’s domestic support for such improvident policy is in.
Including, to a large extent, that of his own party.
Nice try, Guardian.