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[greenyes] Political Winds


America's Right goes green

By Stephen Evans
BBC North America business correspondent

There is a conventional view that partisans of the Right have little time
for environmental issues.
The stereotype paints the Left as "tree-huggers" of a liberal persuasion in
contrast to the All-American patriot who associates big vehicles with the
very essence of the US of A.
It ain't true.
People at the heart of two constituencies crucial to President Bush are
expressing concern about the environment.
Some Christian groups have said for some time that caring for the earth is
caring for what they see as God's creation.
Now some neo-conservatives, not necessarily Christian, are also sounding
alarm bells about gas-guzzling vehicles on "national security" grounds.
Not safe
The former director of the CIA, James Woolsey, for example, drives a Toyota
Prius, the Japanese hybrid that's powered by a combination of a battery and
a conventional petrol engine.
Earlier in the spring, 31 national security experts, some of whom had
advised President Reagan and the first George Bush, wrote to the current
President Bush calling for government action to promote vehicles that use
alternatives to burning gasoline.
Frank Gaffney who runs the conservative Center for Security Policy told the
BBC that his concern was that oil was imported from areas on which the
United States did not want to depend:
"Most of the places we import from have regimes that are at best unstable
and at worst openly hostile to the United States," he said.
"What are we doing giving all this money to the people who are trying to
kill us?"
No longer treason
The conventional stance of American industry since global warming first
surfaced as a concern has been to deny any connection between it and the
burning of oil.
Car and oil companies have been reluctant to admit any scientific link (in
contrast, for example, to British Petroleum, which accepted the link and
tried to re-brand itself as an "energy company" seeking to husband existing
stocks of oil and find new non-carbon sources of energy).
There are signs now that some in the American car industry at least feel
they may be missing a trick.
General Motors, with its commitment to cars that devour gasoline, is now
rethinking, and looking for ways to get into the market for cleaner cars
that the Japanese are starting to dominate.
In Detroit, the United Auto Workers, fearful of its members' jobs, wants the
federal government to help the car-makers develop new, cleaner
technologies - and this from a union that once seemed to see any
environmental talk as a treasonable attack on American jobs.
Market forces
The swing has been energized partly by a study conducted at the University
of Michigan that indicated hundreds of thousands of local jobs would be
under threat if the industry in Detroit didn't become more environmentally
In that sense, the changes in attitude are being driven by the market.
Car workers want to make cars that people buy and the American consumer is
increasingly buying cleaner cars that are not made by their employers.
American consumers are also increasingly buying cars that aren't powered by
a fuel that is rising in price.
Join this self-interested concern with that of some Christians and you might
have political momentum.
Last year, Christianity Today ran an editorial saying: "With each passing
year, we lose the ability to slow and minimise the effects of global
"This is our Father's world, and it is filled with our brothers and
If Christians and neo-cons start turning green, the reverberations could
generate change in the White House.
Peter Anderson, President
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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