A cynical man, a catastrophic error

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A cynical man, a catastrophic error

30 March 2001


History will not judge George Bush kindly. It is hard to exaggerate the significance of his repudiation of the Kyoto treaty. It is not simply that the US President thinks his nation cannot meet the solemn commitments on global warming which it signed three-and-a-half years ago. It is that he does not care.

Of the many potential conflicts between the US and its partners on trade, defence and foreign policy, nothing is as bad as this. It is not even isolationism, it is in-your-face truculence.

The token gesture Mr Bush made during the election campaign towards some kind of reduction in America's carbon dioxide emissions turns out to have been a cynical ploy to match Al Gore's green credentials.

Now Mr Bush is revealed as a fully fledged sceptic about the science of global warming, saying he is "unequivocal" in opposing the Kyoto agreement. In this he sets himself, as firmly as any Creationist or Flat-Earther, against the overwhelming scientific consensus.

At the start of this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported on its latest review of the evidence. The IPCC is no pressure group. It is a cautious and dispassionate body of scientists. Its findings were in a word "unequivocal": the world's climate is definitely warming, and burning of fossil fuels is almost definitely responsible.

Of course, there is more uncertainty about the effects. But even the best-case predictions are catastrophic by the end of this century. And one does not need to be a scientist to understand that if what can be predicted is bad, the unpredictable effects of disturbing the planet's life-support system could be so much worse.

Even the most pig-headed and blinkered politician in the pocket of the US oil companies would want to minimise the risk to future generations by prudently attempting to restrain the appetite of the energy-hungriest nation in the world.

Not Mr Bush. The supposed "leadership of the free world" is in the hands of a man determined to visit greater misery on the generations to come.

-- Swissrose (cellier3@mindspring.com), March 29, 2001


Swissrose, weren't there scary parts of the Kyoto accord having to do with desertification and global government that were hidden in the accord? I seem to remember clauses that made global government and control a big issue. A backward way to control land use, and diminish the sovereignty of the US. Charlie

-- Charlie24 (cstewart@ime.net), March 30, 2001.

Charlie24, I really do not know the ins and outs of the Kyoto treaty, thus cannot discuss Bush's or the Europeans' stance with sufficient authority. My reason for posting this was my surprise at the fury that I encountered in European newspapers, and I thought it would be useful for people in the US to know, as it may well have political implications in the long run... Swissrose.

-- Swissrose (cellier3@mindspring.com), March 30, 2001.

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