Thursday, 31 May 2007

All Bush, no action

US President George Bush. If one called him an environmentalist, one would be considered an absolute idiot. In America, has deregulated modest environmental controls, killed many eco-initiatives, rolled back years of environmental progress while accelarating the detrimental effect the US has on our planet. No, the purpose of this post isn't to go on another environmental schpiel, but the environment — like human rights and all other things not relating to war or money — is one of the subjects Bush is all talk, no action on.

He has proposed action on reducing greenhouse gases, even though he hardly, if at all, believes in global warming. Of course this is to pacify the international community infuriated by the US's inaction on such pressing global issues. Like his other not-so-bright ideas that he doesn't actually believe in, which are basically just rhetoric, there is no goal to actually take action on climate change from within the White House. Bush presented no ideas on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and outrightly opposed such common and expert-suggested actions like carbon trading and caps — sensible steps that can be taken modestly. In short, he has opposed any action at all. His administration has a track record on blocking progress in the battle against human caused climate change.

Rhetoric has seeped from the White House these past six years possibly more than ever. This rhetoric is often irrational and false. The administration has been unaccountable and the least transparent since Nixon's horrendous time in office. The environment and human rights might not be politically sexy issues like terrorism, but at the end of the day they matter more.

Not destroying the planet we inhabit to the point which we can survive no more should be a goal of governments everywhere — and it is a goal of many. However time and time again the only environmental policies the administration has enacted are either diluted forms of old ones or those in which it eats out of the hands of the agriculture or energy lobbies. And no, corn ethanol is not good for the environment. The only thing it is good for are the American farmers. Pain to the environment is a high price to pay for pleasing special interests — like when Ronald Reagen had the brilliant idea of sacking many of the US's practical and fuel efficient trains and killing the competition of the truck driver lobby. it is actually counterproductive to make because it takes nearly 30% more energy to create than it gives out (another plant Bush has spoken about, switchgrass, uses 45% more energy to make than it ultimately gives out, and that's not Bush bashing, its science. That is energy made by — drumroll please — the same fossil fuels America apparantly hoped to get away from in the first place. Coal has also popped up as a contender to power the US's massive energy usage. Coal is also much dirtier than oil, and is an overall stupid fuel to use in that it is amazingly unenvironmentally friendly.

Sugar ethanol might well be the way to go. One might think it would be easy, with free trade and all, and Brazil — which uses E85 sugar ethanol — only a bit away. The catch-22(s): free trade isn't that free when you have lobbyist and special interests nipping at your political power. One of the many problems in America which I hope to cover soon is indeed the prevalence of special interests and the detrimental affect they wreak on democracy.

Like many, I am skeptical of Bush's new environmental plan. As climate change reaches another 'tipping point' — honestly, hysterics don't help either — action must be taken. And his announcement comes after America refused a sensible G8 action plan on reducing greenhouse gases. Bush has a hard time accepting science. This is in part due to his wanting to reach into the deep pockets of the lobbyists for political and financial gold, but also comes as a result of his stubborn, narrow ideology, the same ideology that rejects scientifically-backed up evolution in favor of a more religious approach. And some people wonder why he has messed up the United States so much.

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