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[greenyes] Climate Change

Rebuked on Global Warming
"Nothing so far has shamed President Bush into adopting a more aggressive
policy toward the threat of global warming. He has been denounced by
mainstream scientists, deserted by his progressive friends in industry and
sued by seven states. Still he clings stubbornly to a voluntary policy aimed
at merely slowing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, despite an
overwhelming body of evidence that only binding targets and a firm timetable
will do the job.
"Now there is fresh criticism from sources Mr. Bush may find harder to
ignore. Last week Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, Mr. Bush's most
loyal ally in the debate over Iraq, gently but firmly rebuked the president
for abandoning the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global climate change and for
succumbing to the insupportable notion that fighting global warming will
impede economic growth.
"That was followed by another salvo, from an expert panel assembled by the
National Academy of Sciences to assess Mr. Bush's proposals for further
research into climate change. Though polite, the panel could hardly have
been more contemptuous. It described Mr. Bush's plan as a redundant
examination of issues that had largely been settled, bereft of vision,
executable goals and timetables - in short, little more than a cover-up for
"Of the two rebukes, Mr. Blair's may have been the more painful. The prime
minister said he regarded environmental degradation in general and climate
change in particular as "just as devastating in their potential impact" as
weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. "There will be no genuine
security," he said, "if the planet is ravaged." He also pledged to cut
Britain's greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by midcentury, a
longer-range but still a far more ambitious timetable than Kyoto's target of
an average 5 percent reduction by industrialized nations by 2012.
"Mr. Blair's speech obviously served the political purpose of distancing
himself from the White House, at least on this issue, at a time when many of
his countrymen have criticized him for his support of Mr. Bush on Iraq. It
should also be noted that, in strictly economic terms, it is easier for Mr.
Blair to hold the high ground on this issue than it is for Mr. Bush. Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher's wrenching decision some years ago to convert
Britain's energy base from coal to natural gas, a much cleaner fuel, has
already moved Britain closer to Mr. Blair's lofty targets than it otherwise
would have been.

Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI5705-4964
(608) 231-1100
Fax (608) 233-0011

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