Monday, October 01, 2007

Bush's Hot Air on Global Warming.

Last Friday was a sad day for the environment in Washington D.C. and for that matter in the world.

Yes, Mr. Bush hosted a two-day conference on climate change with the 16 largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. He even acknowledged that global warming is a real and pressing problem:

"energy security and climate change are two of the great challenges of our time. The United States takes these challenges seriously." (L.A. Times)

Those two things may be deemed remarkable indeed for a president who was in denial for so long and whose administration has many close ties to the oil industry… but then what?

Not only was his speech a lot of hot air (sorry, the pun is too easy) but it even had the arrogance of claiming leadership in the matter. He did talk about a "new approach" and "a historic undertaking", only to propose to set a "long-term goal" for reducing such pollution.

By setting this goal, we acknowledge there is a problem," President Bush said. "We must lead the world to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and we must do it in a way that does not undermine economic growth or prevent nations from delivering greater prosperity for their people."

Translation: “we acknowledge there’s a problem… So? We’re leading!”In fact, he continues to be opposed to any mandatory target:

"Each nation must decide for itself the right mix of tools and technologies to achieve results that are measurable and environmentally effective,"

So how does he plan to help solve the problem? With the magic of modern technology. That in some ways is so typically American - believing that some magic pill can make the pain go away smoothly with as little disturbance in our comfortable life as can be.

Unfortunately, this hardly ever works.

Besides, Bush is a hypocrite on the subject and his speech is a charade. Had he really understood the challenge posed by global warming, he would have not delayed the urgent MANDATORY measures that need to be taken. The Europeans may tend to be a bit too self-righteous about the whole issue, and as the Wash. Posts suggests, they are likely to fail meeting the mandatory carbon-reduction standards set out by the treaty by 2012, but really Bush is only giving them plenty of reasons to lash out against his administration.

Unfortunately, this will probably translate into more isolation for the U.S. on the world stage. Besides, why would China (now the world’s greater contributor) take serious actions themselves with such poor self-claimed leadership?

John Ashton, Britain's special envoy on climate change, who attended the conference, said: "It is striking here how isolated the US has become on this issue. There is no support among the industrialized countries for the proposition that we should proceed on the basis of voluntary commitments. (The Guardian)

So is Arnold going to save the world? Maybe not, but he’s the best ambassador for what America has on the subject.

"The most inspiring example of leadership this week was the speech on Monday at the UN by Arnold Schwarzenegger."


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