Climate Change – do I, don’t I; should I, shouldn’t I?

Is the risk worth doing nothing?


Source: Reusable Bags

Bush and the ‘Inconvenient Truth’

Here is a film that urges all people (targeting primarily Americans, however) to face the ‘inconvenient truth’ that what we do affects the Earth and ultimately our life on Earth. President Bush, always a champ of deep thought, doubts that he will see Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth and wants us to stop bothering ourselves regarding the source of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. The Center for American Progress posted this on May 23rd in The Progress Report:

BUSH URGES AMERICANS TO ‘SET ASIDE’ GLOBAL WARMING SCIENCE: President Bush was asked yesterday if he will watchbush_globalwarming.jpg former Vice President Al Gore’s new movie on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. “Doubt it,” the President answered. He went on to argue that we need to “set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects.” Bush’s response attempts to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by human activity. “Why should we set aside the global scientific consensus,” Gore responded. “Is it because Exxon Mobil wants us to set it aside? Why should we set aside the conclusion of scientists in the United States, including the National Academy of Sciences, and around the world including the 11 most important national academies of science on the globe and substitute for their view the view of Exxon Mobil. Why?….”

Interestingly enough, in 2003 Bush called in the scientists. He actually convened a group of environmental and climate scientists selected by the NAS in response to pressure for an explanation of the US withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol to study his administration’s climate strategy. They weren’t kind. “… Lacking vision, and wasting time and money on research questions that were resolved years ago… lacks most of the basic elements of a strategic plan: a guiding vision, executable goals, clear timetables and criteria for measuring progress, and misses the opportunity to cooperate more with other countries on research,” are samples of the comments made in the panel’s report.

In 2004 The Independent/UK published an article blasting the climate policies of the Bush Administration. ‘US Climate Policy Bigger Threat to World than Terrorism’ states, “Advisers to President Bush have suggested climate change is a natural phenomenon and criticized climate researchers for suggesting that rises in global temperatures are the result of man-made emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.”

Bush’s chilling record with the scientific community is traced in a statement titled “The Bush Record on Science” issued by Scientists and Engineers for Change.

No wonder our President won’t see the film — Al Gore actually respects science! He defers to science and scientists over corporate oil and big business. Besides, our man Al won the popular vote in 2000 so why would Dubya want to see his film?!

The Next War: A War on Gas

If you want to feel a little sick just check into the CNN post dated May 6, 2004 that was giving a campaign update focusing on how to handle rising gasoline prices.  People, the writing was on the wall of the gas station and not just in the restroom!

The Washington Post Editorial today has some plainspeak about Bush's meaningless rhetoric (still) on the gas situation.  It addresses what the man and Congress could have done but didn't in the past five years he has been in office that may have possibly headed off this type of situation.  The Post, however, concedes that the blame does not lie entirely with the President although it does point out that he leads the way (after all, he's the "decider").  The article points out that "one reason for growing demand is that people drive inefficient cars. They drive inefficient cars because public policy, long shaped by the president and by Congress, has made it advantageous to do so. Until that changes, little else will." 

Even now, when the word is out that there is a "problem," Bush still doesn't propose anything that will either immediately or in the long run effectively deal with the rising price of gas.  His proposal to temporarily suspend the filling of the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) is nothing new.  John Kerry made the same proposal in 2004 in response to $38 dollar/barrel, $1.78 at the pump prices (prices on April 26, 2006 in Orem UT:  $2.69/gal for reg. unleaded) and was highly criticized for politicizing our national oil security.  It was an idea with negligible results then as it is now.  To criticize the idea then and propose it now, however, is only hypocritical.

The SPR proposal and all the dribble about investigating price gouging are simply continuations of the 'talk a lot and do next to nothing' tactics of the Bush Administation.  Bush's roots are in oil, as are Cheney's.  They are not going to do anything  that will really threaten their oil buddies.  If they can distract the American public, however, they will consider themselves successful.  

Each person must make the individual decision to cut back on gasoline consumption by driving less and demanding fuel efficient and clean emission vehicles rather than SUVs or other guzzling polluters.  We can't count on the president or Congress to do what they're elected to do — make decisions and policy that will make the world better for ALL people, not just those who can make massive campaign donations– instead, we must do this ourselves. 

The Real Campaign

Remember the election in 2000? The one where the popular vote lost to the Supreme Court? The one where the candidate who kissed his wife on stage lost to the candidate who kissed up to corporate America?

Well, our man Al has set his sights on a higher goal, to save the world. After taking a year-long R & R (much needed, I'm sure) to reevaluate his purpose in life, Al Gore reentered the public arena, wearing not the hat of a politician, but rather the robes of earth educator. He has grown into, as Richard Cohen (Washington Post) describes, "a man at home in his role. He is master teacher, pedagogue, know-it-all, smarter than most of us, better informed and, having tried and failed to gain the presidency, he has raised his sights to save the world." Cohen's column is worth the read.  The uncomfortable part comes when you think about how things might have been. 

 Doesn't do any good, won't change a thing, so don't bother thinking about it.  What we should all bother doing now is to listen to the man.  Listen to his story of what will happen if we continue to ignore science, what will happen if we blithely ignore warning after warning on the state of our earth home.  Gives a new meaning to "homeland security."