Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bush, Harper and Friends: An Environmental Production in Five Acts

Laxer does not post all that often but when he does it is original material and usually quite interesting. This is from his blog.

The Bush-Harper approach is to use the Green flag to attack the Greens.
By spouting green rhetoric without tough action Bush and Harper actually contribute to global warming by increasing the ambient hot air that will cause some people to fall asleep when they need a cold blast to wake them up to the dangers of global warming.

Bush, Harper and Friends: An Environmental Production in Five Acts

At a White House-sponsored climate change conference in Washington DC this week, President George W. Bush told participants that he favoured a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as long as each nation decides “for itself the right mix of tools and technology to achieve results that are measurable and environmentally effective.”

Bush steadfastly refuses to commit the United States to any scheme of mandatory emission reduction obligations. The US-led process---Stephen Harper is an enthusiastic participant---is transparently aimed at sidelining the UN-organized talks that are to begin in December in Indonesia. The UN talks will attempt to draw up a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol which would take effect in 2012.

The UN agreement would involve tough, mandatory commitments of the kind the Bush administration rejected when it refused to sign on to Kyoto. Even though Canada ratified Kyoto, the Harper government has dropped any attempt to reach its targets and supports the Bush administration’s view of the way ahead.

The Bush approach has been evolving for years. To avoid inconvenience to big corporate polluters and the free enterprise system, the Bush approach has been an unfolding drama in five acts: deny; deceive; delay; defang; and deep-six.

1. Deny. Act One was the outright denial that if global warming was occurring at all, it was being driven by the emission of greenhouse gases as a consequence of human activities. Following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan who believed that trees were a source of pollution, George W. Bush and Stephen Harper thought the global warming theory was a sneak attack on free enterprise cloaked in the garb of science. Beneath that garb were anti-capitalist demagogues.
2. Deceive. When outright denial became an embarrassment in the presence of people who could read and write, the corporate allies of Bush and Harper turned to deception, in the form of cooked “science”. Petroleum and coal companies sponsored their own studies, designed to cast doubt on the validity of the global warming hypothesis. Corporate funded “experts” emerged to claim that no evidence existed to suggest that human activity was responsible for climate change. The “experts” were much like the tobacco company-financed “scientists” who used to pour cold water on the connection between smoking and lung cancer.
3. Delay. As the case made by genuine scientists became more definitive, and almost universally accepted, Bush, Harper and friends turned to delay. Instead of signing on to the Kyoto targets and the process which will design more rigorous targets for the future, they changed the subject to that of finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “while keeping our economies growing” as Bush said this week. For Bush and Harper, economic growth was the lodestar that was never to be compromised. If reducing greenhouse emissions could be achieved without slowing growth that would be fine.
4. Defang. Not happy with the Europeans and others who were determined to reduce emissions even if this proved costly, Bush, Harper and friends have launched a process with a cheerier outlook. They are joining the battle against greenhouse gas emissions as long as this does not discommode big industry and big energy. It will all be voluntary, putting the future of humanity in the hands of technology and the corporations. If the free market can’t save us, then what can?
5. Deep-Six. This week George W. Bush, with the support of the Harper government, launched a flank attack on the international campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto process has been a unique initiative in the history of our species to counter a unique threat. Bush wants to share in the rhetoric of that struggle because he has no political choice. But his loyalty remains where it has always been, with the great corporate legions, and their drive for profits. That loyalty, the product of ideology and material greed, is rooted in the faith that the corporations will come up with an answer and catastrophe will be averted. And if not, at least this generation of corporate leaders will still reap their rewards.

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