First of all, it is appallingly rude but unfortunately typical of the Bush administration to ignore the U.N.'s attempts to Do Something about impending climate changes and schedule his own parallel meeting at pretty much the same time, inviting all the other major polluters, who ought to be at the U.N. meeting with the rest of the world.
Second, I'm amazed at the blether coming out of the White House - and yes, Condi, that includes you, the President's mouthpiece. We can't possibly slow anybody's growth, or impact anybody's economy (including ours). And we certainly can't impose binding targets, even if we choose them ourselves - why, what if we change our minds??
“Every country will make its own decisions,” she said, “reflecting its own needs and interests.”How is that different from what we've been doing all along, which is what's gotten us here, facing the entire loss of the Arctic ice pack in our lifetimes?? When the permafrost melts, what will happen to our wonderful Alaska pipeline (it's grounded on permafrost, you know)? For that matter, when the pipeline ruptures because the ground has collapsed into a swamp under it, how will the citizens of Alaska get along without all the money they get from the oil fund??
President Bush is now capable of saying the words, "human induced climate change", but he still doesn't get it. He doesn't understand what a 1.5 degree Celsius (that's 3 degrees Fahrenheit, Georgie) average increase in the global temperature will mean for the weather extremes: the winters will be warmer; the summers will be hotter (will you even be able to live in Texas in the summer?); the storms will be stronger; the rain patterns will change, which will disrupt agriculture.
It wouldn't take much of a change in the snow and rainfall pattern to make California incapable of supporting the number of people who live there now - not counting the ones who will move here next week or next year. We've just had one of the driest years on record - is that a coincidence, or the start of a trend? What price the most expensive housing market on the planet if you have Draconian water rationing??
Places near the equator, which are now uncomfortably hot and dry, will become entirely uninhabitable, and the people who live there will have to find somewhere else to live. Are we going to take them in? They're mostly poor and brown, which doesn't augur well; we have this thing about poor brown people.
The climate change has already started; and no matter what we do, it will have some effect. Immediate and strenuous efforts to reduce the fossil fuels we burn may allow us to continue to live here, in varying degrees of discomfort; but remember that the Earth will go on happily whether we can live on it or not.