This is a real question. Over the weekend I wrote an article for NRO on the new Bush climate initiative and the G-8 summit, and came to the conclusion that the Bush Administration has potentially set the stage for a meaningful international agreement on climate by, among other things, proposing an approach that could be acceptable to China, India, and other major emitters in the developing world. Given the Administration's relative inaction on climate change over the past six-and-a-half years, this is something of a surprise. As my column concludes:
If someone had predicted a month ago that President Bush would lead the way toward a meaningful global climate-change policy, they would have been labeled a loon, or worse. In the days leading up to the G-8 summit, policy mavens predicted the likelihood of a policy breakthrough was slim. But something funny happened on the way to Heiligendamm: The president proposed an alternative way to generate international agreement on climate policy, and now other nations are listening. If we see a climate policy breakthrough in the years ahead, it is possible President Bush will deserve much of the credit.
Let me be clear that I am not saying that the Administration's approach is perfect or the be-all, end-all of climate policies. What I am saying, however, is that given the very real political constraints on meaningful climate measures both at home and abroad, the Bush Administration appears to be setting a course toward something that could produce real results. Time will tell.