Saturday, July 09, 2005

"As the science justifies"

The G8 agreement on climate change, clean energy and sustainable development is posted here

It says:

Climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe. We know that increased need and use of energy from fossil fuels, and other human activities, contribute in large part to increases in greenhouse gases associated with the warming of our Earth's surface. While uncertainties remain in our understanding of climate science, we know enough to act now to put ourselves on a path to slow and, as the science justifies, stop and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.
So, what does as the science justifies mean here? Is it a parenthetical (as the science already amply justifies) or is it the qualifier when and if our scientific understanding justifies? There is more than a hint in a a speech that Bush gave a few years ago:
My administration is committed to cutting our nation's greenhouse gas intensity -- how much we emit per unit of economic activity -- by 18 percent over the next 10 years. This will set America on a path to slow the growth of our greenhouse gas emissions and, as science justifies, to stop and then reverse the growth of emissions.
So it looks like business as usual then...

Update: just saw this in the Guardian:
But the environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, said it was "absolute rubbish" to claim the G8 summit had not signed up to anything new.
Sorry Margaret, you are clearly wrong on this. It's almost a word-perfect copy of Bush's previous speech. He's already doing this (in his interpretation of the meaning).

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