Environment: Climate S.O.S.
Environment: Climate S.O.S.
The Bush administration is waging an assault on reason, manipulating the facts and "staying the course" on a policy of environmental destruction.
|JULY 6, 2007||by Faiz Shakir, Nico Pitney, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, and Matt Corley
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This summer’s concert season is about more than just impressive displays of live music. It will also push individuals, corporations, and governments to address global warming. This Saturday, Al Gore’s Live Earth, the biggest concert in history, will last twenty-four hours on all seven continents and feature more than 100 music artists such as Madonna, Snoop Dogg, and Kanye West. Gore will kick off the event Saturday morning with a 10 a.m. concert in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. “The Live Earth concerts represent an unprecedented opportunity to ask for the world’s attention long enough to deliver an S.O.S. and then to begin delivering information about the solutions to every single person,” said Gore. This year “is on track to be the second warmest since records began in the 1860s,” and unless global carbon dioxide emissions fall at least 60 to 80 percent by 2050, the planet will heat up more than two degrees Celsius. Increasingly, people worldwide view climate change as the greatest threat facing the earth. Yet just like it did before the Iraq war, the Bush administration is waging an assault on reason, manipulating the facts and “staying the course” on a policy of environmental destruction. Sign the Live Earth Pledge and demand that your country cut global warming pollution by 90 percent by 2050.
HEADING TOWARD CATASTROPHE: In Aug. 2001, President Bush ignored the dire warning, “Bin Laden determined to strike inside the US.” Four days after Hurricane Katrina, Bush claimed, “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees” in New Orleans. But evidence shows that he and his administration were warned repeatedly about that possibility. The same thing is currently happening with climate change. As Gore writes in Assault on Reason (pp. 208-9), “Now, the scientific community is warning us of the worst catastrophe in the history of human civilization. … The president says he is not sure humans are responsible for the threat of global warming. … He tells us that he believes the science of global warming is in dispute. This is the same president who said after the devastation of New Orleans, ‘Nobody could have predicted that the levees would break.'” Just as his administration relied on Ahmed Chalabi for flawed intelligence about the Iraq invasion, Bush has now turned to ExxonMobil for policies on global warming that will benefit no one but the oil industry. Most recently at the G-8 summit in May, the United States rejected German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s global pact on carbon emissions, which would have reduced global emissions “50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.” But instead of mandatory emission reductions, Bush pushed for “aspirational goals.” “Countries would work independently for the next ‘ten to twenty years’ to develop strategies to ‘improve energy security, reduce air pollution and also reduce greenhouse gases.'”
CHENEY’S MANIPULATION: On global warming, as on the war in Iraq, the Bush administration’s policy outcomes have been “predetermined, in spite of the voluminous evidence that it would lead to catastrophe.” New reports show that Vice President Cheney took “full advantage of the president’s cluelessness” on climate change and dominated the policies. On Sept. 29, 2000, Bush pledged, “We will require all power plants to meet clean-air standards in order to reduce emissions of…carbon dioxide within a reasonable period of time.” In February and March 2001, then Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman urged the White House to take steps to combat global warming, but she was overruled. Instead, Cheney armed the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) with industry heavyweights. Thereafter, “a CEQ memo concluded Bush’s promise to regulate CO2 ‘did not fully reflect the president’s position’ and that ‘it would be premature at this time to propose any specific policy or approach aimed at addressing global warming.'” The authors of the memo stated that “the current state of scientific knowledge about causes of and solutions to global warming is inconclusive.” CEQ chief of staff Philip Cooney, who worked for the oil industry before joining the White House and then joined Exxon in 2005, repeatedly censored government reports to play down the links between global warming and human activities. In March, Cooney admitted to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, “My objective was to align these communications with the administration’s stated policy” of climate skepticism. Evidence also shows that the Vice President’s office was in regular contact with CEQ. Kevin O’Donovan, an aide in Cheney’s office, wrote a memo to Cooney suggesting they try to “reinvigorate debate on the actual climate history of the past thousand years.”
LIVE EARTH: The ten Live Earth concerts will be broadcast to 2 billion people in more than 100 countries. Even Antarctica will have a performance by the indie rock band Nunatak, which is “made up of five scientists aged 22 to 28 who are stationed on the generally unpopulated continent.” Recognizing that large concerts often have damaging environmental footprints, the organizers of Live Earth are striving to make the events as ecofriendly as possible. Each artist has been given “a ‘Green Handbook’ of touring tips, such as where to get biodiesel for their trucks and how to offset carbon emissions.” Electricity to power the concerts will come from renewable energy sources, and greenhouse gases from the “stars’ jets or by the audience’s travel will be offset by investments in renewable energy and by safeguarding forests. Concert props may live on long after stars such as Madonna, Shakira and Bon Jovi have left the stage — old tires and oil drums used in the New York set will be re-used while some concert signs in Johannesburg will be used as roofing.” The seven-point Live Earth Pledge asks individuals to demand that their countries “join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide.” It also “asks people to cut their own pollution, to make their homes, business, schools and transport more energy efficient, and to plant new trees and preserve forests.” “We have to get all nations involved, but in order to accomplish that we have to bring about a sea change in public opinion,” said Gore. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) both signed the pledge in June.
“The Live Earth concert in Rio de Janeiro was expected to go ahead after organizers overcame security concerns and a judge lifted a ban on the climate change awareness event on Thursday.”
CALIFORNIA: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) pushes to save California’s crops from a massive honeybee shortage.
VIRGINIA: State’s second largest county is moving to enact “some of the toughest measures in the nation” targeting undocumented immigrants.
COLORADO: Denver decides against a “green remodeling” plan for homes in order to protect real estate industry.
THINK PROGRESS: Suspected Hamas operative references Libby commutation precedent to seek reduced jail time.
BOING BOING: Texas screening of SiCKO inspires health care activism.
BOB GEIGER: Senators who favored President Clinton’s impeachment are silent on Scooter Libby’s clemency for same crime.
RAW STORY: “Conservative bloggers try to link Michael Moore to UK terror attempts.”
“After evaluating the facts, the President came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct.”
“According to Associate Attorney General Rudolph W. Giuliani, executive clemency involves a great number of people and a complex, yearlong procedure.“
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