Thursday, December 13, 2007

Al Gore in the Land of the Green People

Kevin Drum links an LA Times piece on Al Gore at the Bali Climate Conference. Excerpts:
Nobel laureate Al Gore accused the United States today of blocking progress at the U.N. climate conference, and European nations threatened to boycott U.S.-led climate talks next month unless Washington compromises on emissions reductions.

The former U.S. vice president urged delegates to take urgent action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, and told them that the next U.S. president will likely be more supportive of international caps on polluting gases.

...The United States, Japan and several other governments are refusing to accept language in a draft document suggesting that industrialized nations consider cutting emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020, saying specific targets would limit the scope of future talks.
...Gore urged delegates to reach agreement even without the backing of the United States, saying President Bush's successor, who will take office in January 2009, would likely be more supportive of binding cuts.
The Vice President seems to be negotiating on behalf of a presumed future President. Is he in danger of violating the proscription against private diplomacy? Seems he could have just criticized the current Administration and left it at that.

On a broader point, why does anyone care if the U.S. signs on to another Kyoto-like treaty? The real decision to curb emissions will be made in Congress, largely independent of international diplomacy. Shouldn't Gore be talking to Reid and Pelosi, instead of the converted in Bali?