World Set Back 10 Years by Bush’s New World Order, Says Blair Aide

In a recent statement, the British prime minister's senior advisor Jonathan Porritt says US President George W. Bush has had a "devastating impact" on the world's work on sustainable development. Porrit accused the Bush administration's bad policies in a wide range of issues related to sustainable development, including climate change, international aid, family planning, nuclear proliferation, trade, and corporate responsibility. In evaluating the UK government's efforts, Porritt, who is also the chairman of UK's Sustainable Development Commission, praised Britain's leadership on climate change and global debt relief as "bright spots," but out of the 15 areas he judged on, four of them, namely, employment, health care, housing, and green house gas emission, received "disappointing" rating while only two received "good" rating. Porritt attributed the growing global problems on sustainable development partly to Bush's "staying true to a discredited model of extreme economic liberalism," which is essentially giving a perfect "out" for many countries from their environmental responsibilities. In order to get back on the right track, a better balance point needs to be found between the environment and development. – YaleGlobal

World Set Back 10 Years by Bush's New World Order, Says Blair Aide

Paul Brown
Wednesday, April 14, 2004

George Bush has had a "devastating impact" on global sustainable development and set the world back more than ten years, says Jonathon Porritt, the prime minister's senior adviser on the subject, today.

Writing in Guardian Society Mr Porritt, who is the chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, says it is hard to exaggerate the damage done to the planet by Mr Bush's drive for a "new world order".

On a whole series of issues including climate change, international aid, family planning, nuclear proliferation, trade and corporate responsibility, "staying true to a discredited model of extreme economic liberalism has set the world back a decade or more", says Mr Porritt.

He says it is not surprising that the rest of the world has done so badly because Mr Bush has given them the perfect "out" from their responsibilities.

"Developing countries are increasingly disenchanted with what they see as a narrow, unfair and protectionist agenda," he says, "Japan is mired in its own economic and political failure, Russia plays the field for whatever it can get out of it, and even the EU has started to lose the plot, with a least five countries seeking to renege on their climate commitments. ..."

Against this backdrop the British government looks like a world leader but even here the title of his report on progress is Shows Promise: But Must Try Harder.

The five-year review says that a lack of political will and a failure to understand that quality of life is not just about economic growth has led to slow progress towards the government's sustainable development goals. But Mr Porritt singles out Tony Blair's leadership on climate change and Gordon Brown's efforts on global debt as bright spots.

He says that in some of the 15 areas he judges the government on, for example waste management and traffic, the performance has been "dreadful". Four areas "show promise" and two – air quality and river water – manage a "good". He accepts that the government intends to do more but it is not a brilliant picture.

"Far more effort needs to be made to differentiate between smart growth (that generates wealth and social benefits without damaging the environment) and today's wholly unsustainable growth that inevitably ends up damaging people's real quality of life."

On this criterion he gives Britain's economic growth a "poor" rating and says eco-taxation policy has become bogged down.

The government gets a "disappointing" rating in four areas: employment, because of longer working hours and gender wage gaps; health, because life expectancy in poor communities is not rising; housing, because energy efficiency is low; and greenhouse gas emissions because of increased traffic and air travel. The four areas "showing promise" are poverty reduction, education, wildlife and land use.

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