Can We Wait Another Year Before
Dealing With Global Warming?
By James Donahue
Even as the nation is being hit by a string of some of the most severe weather in memory, complete with
extreme heat, drenching rains, high winds and tornados, the Republican Senators this week managed to block yet another attempt
to put controls on industrial greenhouse gas emissions.
Working comfortably in their stately, air-conditioned offices, riding to and from their jobs in air-conditioned
limousines, and living in luxurious air-conditioned housing, these well-paid slaves of the lobbyists who buy their votes appear
to be immune to the changes occurring in the environment around them.
While doing all they can to protect the big business interests that would like to ignore the fact that
our overpopulated and polluted world is in dire trouble, that billions of people are in great danger of dying from famine,
flooding, storms and pestilence, other world leaders are sounding the alarm and attempting to hang on until Americans come
to their senses and vote out the corporate whores now running Washington.
The Democratic leaders fell a dozen votes short of the 60 votes needed to stop an old-fashioned Republican
filibuster on a bill, thus forcing the Senate to pull the legislation from consideration. That means it will not be tried
again until next year when the new president and new legislators take office.
The bill called for caps on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, refineries and factories. The
target was cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 71 percent within the next 40 years. Of course, President Bush opposed the
measure and threatened to veto the bill if it got to his desk.
In the meantime, the leaders of world industrial nations are gathering for an annual G-8 summit in July
when members are expected to vote to endorse a plan by an international group of environment ministers that calls for a 50
percent reduction in world-wide emissions by 2050. The United States, which will be represented at that meeting, is among
the world’s largest producers of carbon dioxide emissions.
A newly released energy study by a French based International Energy Agency estimates the cost of saving
our planet now hovers at an estimated $45 trillion. The study calls for construction of 1,400 nuclear power plants and development
of wind and solar power systems to meet this goal.
Nobuo Tanaka, IEA Executive Director, said the task of cutting world emissions by 50 percent is a “formidable
challenge” that will require “immediate policy action and technological transition on an unprecedented scale.”
Failure to act now, and act decisively, could spell disaster for billions of people around the world,
and possibly an extinction of all life on our planet. A network of scientists concluded last year that world temperatures
could increase from 3.6 to 4.2 degrees if this goal is not met.
The effects of such increases in heat are already occurring. They include widespread loss of species,
famines and droughts, violent storms, melting ice caps and glaciers and flooding of heavily populated coastal areas by rising
We wonder if the world dares to wait another 50 years, or even another year before taking drastic action
to head off this major world crisis.