The European Union today announced it had reached a binding agreement on targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement is to cut emissions by 20% below 1990 levels, by 2020.
Further, the agreement binds member states to boost the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, by 20% over the same period.
These figures, though a positive move, are regarded by climate experts as insufficient to reverse the effects of climate change, or stabilize the environment, even if other countries were to agree similar measures. All experts – with the possible exception of a few ‘fringe’ nutcases, sufficiently rewarded by big business for saying what their employer’s demand – agree that imposing tighter controls on individuals will never achieve the necessary reductions to stabilize the atmosphere. The way forward is to force industry – the real polluters – to stop putting profits before pollution and clean up their acts.
The true irony is that most of the major polluters will eventually cease to exist unless they take action now. The consequence of not doing so hardly bears comment. Just for the record, though, let’s spell it out. A rise of only six degrees in the earth’s temperature means we, as a species, will be wiped out – along with most other mammals on the planet. The latest IPCC report this year estimates rises of 3.2 to 7.1 degrees, and those figures are considered by many experts to be conservative.
Europe has begun to move in the right direction, though ominously slowly. Is America following suit?
The Bush White House refused to publish the latest United Nation’s report on climate change. It sat on a shelf for twelve months, gathering dust. Finally, this month it has been revealed to the world, and it shows that not only is America failing to reduce greenhouse gases, but it intends to carry on increasing these toxic emissions over the next decade – by 11%.
Justification for the continuing rise is based on the ratio of emissions to economy growth. Using figures from 1990, the percentage output of emissions has risen more slowly than the economy. In fact, since 1990 the economy has grown three times faster than pollution. Unfortunately for mankind, the planet cares little how the America economy is faring, but Mister Myran Ebell, a spokesman for the polluters, says America is doing “……..good, and it’s better than the European Union’s performance.”
Once again, the destructive edge of American competitiveness rears its ugly head. “We are outperforming others, so everything is all right.”
It might be, Mister Ebell, if you weren’t lying through your teeth. It’s not “good”, and while the EU’s efforts so far have not been “good” either, let me remind you that your country discharges 25% of the total pollutants causing this problem, and your idea means we all have to wait for America to slide into catastrophic recession before you decide things are not quite as “good” after all.
A catastrophic recession is exactly what will occur eventually, if Mister Ebell and his pals are allowed to continue poisoning the citizens, not only of this country, but the whole world.
If America were to take the lead in cleaning up its act, rein in the self-centered cash monkeys and force big business to become environmentally friendly, it could then legitimately pressurize the new economies of India and China to do the same. As it is, their attitude is, “You set the example, first.”
By adopting the stance of the ostrich, both the American government and its sidekick, big business, are clearly displaying their lack of responsibility towards the care and welfare of American citizens. Their only concern is in the continued flow of personal wealth and power.
How long will the American people continue to sit on their butts with their heads in the sand and allow this catastrophic situation to continue?
Will they still be in that position when the temperature finally rises another six degrees? If so, that will likely be the stance they will keep for eternity.
Filed under: The end