What is it going to take for America to wake up to the state of the environment? Is anybody ever going to be able to convince President Bush to help reduce global warming?
Let’s hope so. In the time it has taken 189 countries to discuss the issues surrounding global warming, millions of tons of greenhouse gases have polluted the air, sea levels have risen and acres of forest have been chopped down.
Climate Change Conference
The UN Climate Change conference in Montreal was seen as a new chance to convince reluctant counties that something had to be done about the state of the environment. Yet another opportunity for the likes of super nations, America and China to offer their help in reducing carbon emissions.
As talks came to an end President Bush was still adamant America would not commit to any binding agreement to cut its carbon emissions- he believes it’s bad for business.
It may be bad for the American economy but the affect on the environment is devastating. The reality can be seen in melting glaciers, disintegrating polar ice, dying coral reefs, rising sea levels, changing ecosystems and fatal heat waves. (Image Left: Polar thaw has already started at a fast rate.)
Rise In Natural Disasters...
Perhaps even more devastating is the recent rise in the frequency of natural disasters. The Tsunami in South East Asia, the flooding of New Orleans, the Pakistani earthquake, and a long list of hurricanes and droughts worldwide could all be due to the changes in the earth’s climate over the last decade. Already, the global incidence of drought has doubled over the past 30 years.
when a natural disaster destroys a city on his own land, he continually refuses to commit to, or even talk about cutting America’s emissions.
Back in 2001 Bush rejected the Kyoto protocol (wikipedia definition) and had to be persuaded by Tony Blair to even attend environmental talks at the G8 summi
Leaders, like President Bush, can see this happening like anyone else, but even t in July this year.
The protocol was originally set up in 1997 as a framework to reduce the damage to the environment. This month, the talks in Canada were simply to discuss plans for new targets post-2012, when the first stage of the Kyoto process ends.
In the lead up to the conference officials said they were not hopeful in making immediate progress in Montreal, and it’s a good job; none was made. It is beginning to seem as if the message that the situation is ‘urgent’ is not being fully understood by certain counties.
The USA accounts for 25 per cent of the worlds greenhouse emissions yet continues to deny that human activity is to blame for the rise in pollution. It was only during talks at Gleneagles in July that Bush admitted that global warming ‘may be’ a problem.
The reluctance to participate had led to serious criticism from nations across all five continents. Those who are committed such as the UK and Canada are being urged to go ahead without America. Officials have hinted at a change in American policy when the Bush administration ends in January 2009.
America The Biggest Sinner?
However, last year in America alone, drier-than-average conditions contributed to an active wildfire season that burned more than 8.5 million acres of woodland and at the end of November, 18 percent of the U.S. was in moderate-to-extreme drought in contrast to 6 percent at the end of November last year
Included in the ‘high risk’ areas of the US was President Bush’s own private ranch, which was under threat of wildfire during the crisis.
America is not the only nation failing to pledge their help in reducing emissions to 5 per cent below the 1990 levels. Other large and powerful nations, including China, Japan and Australia, also show unwillingness to reach the 2012 targets.
China is quickly becoming a superpower to rival the influence of America and another serious threat to the reduction in global carbon emissions.
China is already the second biggest giant of global warming. It stands as a developing nation outside the guidelines of the Kyoto treaty, yet with more than one billion people and a huge energy exhausting economy, it is one of the most influential countries in climate change. (Image Above- A Polluted Hong Kong)
It is the nation with the largest coal consumption and the number two nation in carbon dioxide emissions behind the United States. Many of its cities are thick with air pollution and large regions are plagued with drought, failing crops and sandstorms linked to global warming.
Organisations like Greenpeace are running huge campaigns in countries like China, urging the nation to stop burning fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources and to begin the swap to renewable sources.
Despite this, China's leaders remain fixed on rapid development and increasing energy use, and the expansion of the nation as a global superpower. As the talks drew to a close in Montreal, attention turned to the Asian country, Chinese officials and industrialists are resisting pressure to limit emissions, saying China has a right to catch up with wealthy countries. At the same time, the country is happy to accept funding for projects aimed at promoting energy efficiency.
At least this is a step in the right direction on behalf of China, and it seems now that some U.S. states are becoming greener, by taking matters in to there own hands. Even though America pulled out of Kyoto, the state of California sent representatives to
California Doing Things For Itself...
Montreal to make its own deals. A new state policy aims to reduce California's smog "exports" by requiring out-of-state power providers to meet the same clean-air standards as in-state plants. However, the initiative is getting mixed responses from other states across America who are not so willing to cut carbon emissions.
At the close of the conference in Montreal President Bush was persuaded to take part in further non-binding talks in 2006. This agreement to talk some more is all very well, but isn’t it time something was done about climate change before ‘Dubya’s’ ranch goes up in flames?!