By Greg O'Brien, Codfish Press
Does George Bush finally have religion on global warming? Not likely, but at least he may be in the pew. President Bush is scheduled tonight to speak to the issue in his State of the Union address—proposing, the Boston Globe notes, “what his aides have billed as a bold new national strategy to confront global climate change and work toward energy independence.” The Globe reports that administration officials “have strongly hinted” that Bush will outline steps to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, that experts say are fueling global warming. Sources have told the Globe that government initiatives may concentrate on accelerating automobile fuel economy standards, controlling plant emissions, and more backing for renewable energy sources.
The operative word here is ‘mandatory.” The Bush Administration appears stuck on a Junior League approach to responding to the life-changing threats of global warming: volunteerism. Call it, an inconvenient truth. In spite of the chilling realities of record carbon dioxide build-ups, an alarming worldwide temperature surge, melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, killer heat waves and other extreme weather, the Bush Administration seems fixed on the trickle down theory—that concerned with the safety of future generations, profitable and polluting energy and manufacturing companies will dip into their largesse to throw us a few bones to fix the planet.
So don’t expect much tonight in the form of compulsory controls on greenhouse gas emissions; it will likely be more of a feel-good, corporate pep talk—too little, too late.
On the subject of cheerleaders, Bush ought to pay heed to antagonist Al Gore. While Gore didn’t invent the Internet and wouldn’t make a short list of dinner guests in most households, he stood many of us on our ears recently with his thorough and credible global warming documentary. Something to consider from the Gore script: more than 279 species of plants and animals have already reacted to global warming, moving closer to the poles; deaths from global warming are expected to double in the next 25 years to 300,000 people a year, as sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet in places with the dramatic loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, inundating coastal areas worldwide; the Artic Ocean could be free of ice by the summer of 2050, and more than a million species worldwide could be driven to annihilation.
Volunteerism, Mr. Bush, is good for well-heeled women in party dresses. Action on global warming must be compelled. If you’re in the pew, come to Jesus on this!