Cablegate: French disappointment, Americans work hard to shape French approach to climate

Again, it would seem the Bush administration wanted to avoid global agreements and reducing emissions in favor of technological solutions.

Bush and Sarkozy discuss climate change policies 

Cable 07PARIS1995 from 2007 hints at the differences between France and America on climate policy. It discusses an upcoming meeting between Bush and Sarkozy: 

“(C) Sarkozy is likely to have two priority issues of his own to raise, climate change and Darfur. On the first, Sarkozy signaled during his election victory speech that climate change was his top priority, and he called on the U.S. to “take the lead” in the fight against global warming. Sarkozy has stopped short of calling on the U.S. to join Kyoto, but he publicly advocates the idea of a carbon tax on imports from non-Kyoto signatories as a means of defending Europe’s CO2 emissions trading system (ETS). The President should express our interest in enhancing collaboration on climate change with France, with a view to greater cooperation on a positive science and technology agenda…” 

The last sentence is telling, as it indicates the preference of the Bush Administration for a technology solution to climate change.

From what I can see from other leaked cables, this appears to be US strategy. 

Bush was betting the future of all life on this planet on a technology fix.  

French viewed US emission cuts as “too modest”, frustrated with lack of US leadership 

Like the British, the French were frustrated by the lack of US leadership 

“CLIMATE CHANGE: Ninety percent of the French public considers climate change as one of the gravest issues facing mankind and many still cannot understand why the U.S. failed to accept the Kyoto Protocol. When Sarkozy was elected President, he challenged the U.S. to assume a leadership role. Over the past year, the French have begun to appreciate our active engagement on this issue. Following the U.S. proposal for a Major Economies Meeting process to further the UN climate process, the French at first expressed a mixture of skepticism and interest. They are now fully on board, with France hosting the third Major Economies Meeting (and the first to be held overseas) in mid-April, where Sarkozy made a major address. France anticipates additional productive MEM sessions leading up to the summer’s Leaders Meeting…”

However the French remained frustrated with US emission targets:

This does not mean that the French share all U.S. positions in the MEM. For example, they thought our medium-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction target (capping emissions at 2025 levels) much too modest. France will seek strong language on climate change in the upcoming G-8 statement, in addition to the language on climate change in the Leaders Statement under the MEM process. This would be an opportunity to sensitize Sarkozy and the GOF further to the seriousness and breadth of U.S. efforts…”

US efforts where focused on shaping the French approach, not actually cutting emissions.  

Getting the French “fully on board” 

As can be noted, the Americans were proud of shifting the French position and getting them “fully on board”.  

Again we see a concentrated effort by the US to shape the policies of other nations related to climate change.

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2 thoughts on “Cablegate: French disappointment, Americans work hard to shape French approach to climate

  1. Ju says:

    The links to wikileaks are no longer valid, their .org server has dropped them… using the IP address instead still works: http://46.59.1.2/

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