Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One Big Polluter Enables Another

You don't have to be a genius to grasp that the Bush administration threw away the world's goodwill after the 9/11 terrorist attacks by launching the Iraqi invasion - - now morphed into an occupation amidst a civil war with no end in sight.

But there is also evidence that Bush's refusal to act on climate change has diminished our stature and credibility - - as has the Iraqi debacle - - across the globe.

Ironically, and tragically, the Chinese government, now sitting atop an economy belching out greenhouse pollutants like a runaway freight train, is citing American unwillingness to cut emissions as justification for its own failure to make anti-pollution efforts, too.

This is how a recent Reuters story (March 17th) explains the consequences that emerged after the US refused to adopt anti-pollution targets laid out in the Kyoto accords:

"The United States has been criticised for pulling out of the [Kyoto] Protocol in 2001 and [a spokesman] said any post-Kyoto agreement with specific targets would "have to involve the U.S., China, India and other developing countries."

"Canadian Environment Minister John Baird echoed this view in a conference call with reporters after the meeting.

"But developing states like China cite the U.S. position as a reason for their refusal to accept reduction targets."

Sure, there's an element of politics to all this: it's easier for China to blame someone else - - the US - - for its inaction, especially if it would cost the
Chinese government some money.

But we're not on the high moral or environmental ground condemning the coal-hungry, oil-draining, air-fouling Chinese industrial and automotive sectors because our government has caviled and obstructed on the issues, and at negotiating tables, too.

The Bush administration has pretty much said it doesn't care if the rest of world loves or hates us. The self-defeating arrogance of that position aside, we all have to breathe the same air.

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