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Nation Topics - Environmental Issues

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Time to ease up on George W. So what that he tore up the Kyoto
agreement, which had been painstakingly hammered out among 100 nations in
an attempt to control global warming. Bush doesn't know any better, and
why should he, since he never seemed to think that there was a world out
there worth visiting, let alone saving.

Here's a guy born with credit cards in his cradle, enough to take him
anywhere in the world, first class, who nevertheless pointedly refused to
go. Even kids without any money manage to scrape up a few bucks and go
see the world, but not young George, who satiated his curiosity about
foreign lands with a few beer busts down in Mexico.

Heck, this fellow is so partial to sleeping in his own bed that during
the campaign his handlers had to cajole him into making appearances
outside of Texas. A state that is, the then-governor would tell his
out-of-state audiences, the most perfect place in the world. His bold
plan for the nation is to make it "a greater Texas."

What makes Texas perfect for Bush is that they have gas and oil
profits there, which paid for Bush's run for governor and the presidency
and made his Vice President and other key players in his Administration
very, very rich. Nothing can be allowed to cut into those profit margins,
especially those environmental extremists who are always talking about
clean air and harmful emissions.

Sure Bush is for clean air--as long as it doesn't hurt oil company
profits. Why, when the black smoke in his hometown of Odessa got so nasty
that you had to turn on your headlights in the daytime, Gov. Bush went so
far as to politely ask the big oil companies to come up with a plan to
regulate themselves. They're still working on it.

What he would not buy, as he made clear in the presidential campaign,
is that there is some sort of "greenhouse gas" effect already at work
changing the world's climate in ways that all those alarmists say will
prove disastrous. Yes, it's true that as part of his successful campaign
strategy of conning the center and not frightening the Naderites, he did
pledge to enforce limits on carbon dioxide emissions. So he lied. Big
deal. At least it wasn't about something important, like sex.

Greenhouse gases are not important to Bush because all you have is a
bunch of scientific geeks with all their studies, such as the recent one
by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which
concluded that such emissions have "contributed substantially" to global
warming. But our President still is not convinced, and that's all that
matters now, thanks to a weird and dubious election.

Anyway, no matter what those scientific studies show, Bush is not
about to let other countries tell us--the United States of America!--what
to do. So what that our 5 percent of the world's population accounts for 25 percent of
its greenhouse gases--on a per capita basis twice that of Western Europe.
Evidently the toxic Texan wants us to be No. 1 in everything, including
pollution.

Bush is impervious to the argument of other industrialized nations,
which recognize that, being the source of most of the damage, they must
take the lead in repairing it while also setting an example for more
impoverished nations. The response to Bush's position from our
traditional allies has been withering, as typified by France's
environment minister, who termed Bush's actions "completely provocative
and irresponsible." The heck with them if they can't take a joke.

Bush's typically fractured response to the torrent of foreign
criticism was breathtakingly insular: "We will not do anything that harms
our economy. Because first things first are the people who live in
America." Bush must believe that some sort of divine intervention will
preserve the United States as the ice cap melts and the seas rise.
Perhaps this is where the corporate greed faction of the GOP finds common
ground with the party's religious right.

It's sad that party moderates, led by Environmental Protection Agency
chief Christie Whitman and Secretary of State Colin Powell, have not been
able to bring Bush the younger up to speed on this issue. And a pity that
Bush doesn't even listen to William K. Reilly, the EPA administrator
during the first Bush presidency, who urged George W. to at least abide
by the 1992 international convention to combat global warming, which his
father signed.

But Bush the younger is so steeped in the ideology of Big Oil that he
obviously cannot think clearly about environmental issues. The mind,
particularly of a president, is a terrible thing to waste. But when it
comes to saving the environment, George Bush does seem uneducable.

8,5000 Years of LEAD...
79 Years of LEADED Gasoline

BC:

Research support was provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. Follow-ups:
"Amplification," June 19, 2000 and letters exchanges: "Lead--Balloons and Bouquets," May 15, and "Lead-Letter Office," July 3, 2000.

Natural Capitalism is so informative and provocative--and so unfashionably optimistic about the future of the planet--that I wonder why everyone in public life is not reading it and arguin

Eileen Welsome, a mild-mannered 48-year-old reporter laboring away in obscurity for a tiny afternoon newspaper in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is no one's idea of a media Bigfoot.

For thirty years, since the publication of Silent Spring and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the growth of the environmental movement has been fueled with sorrow for the decimation o

This book is aimed at business executives, but political reporters may have to read it too, now that Republican front-runner George W. Bush has decided that global warming is real after all.

Like virtually everyone else in San Carlos, Ecuador, Hugo Ureña never imagined that danger might lurk in the shiny black liquid that began appearing in the water near his home roughly thi

Blogs

Democracy doesn’t fare well when a few personalities dominate media ownership.

August 16, 2013

Despite the ills of fracking, the Obama administration claims more natural gas is part of the solution to climate change. 

August 15, 2013

Representative Dana Rohrabacher says global warming is a “fraud” to “create global government.”

August 10, 2013

A new campaign wants to warn you about the perils of climate change by putting labels on gas pumps.

August 9, 2013

A new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says weather around the world is becoming more extreme.

August 8, 2013

How labor and environmentalists in California are finding common cause.

August 7, 2013

Do Democrats’ words matter, even if their climate policies are gutless? It depends on what the public says next.

August 1, 2013

At Sunday’s march on the Brayton Point coal plant in Massachusetts, I was reminded of what it takes for a movement to win.

July 30, 2013

The current drought in the Southwest bears echoes of the 1930s, when Nation writers and illustrators evoked what it was like to have “nice hot dust in your nose, eyes, and throat.”

July 27, 2013

What it means, as symbol and reality, then and now.

July 26, 2013