This week, President Gee W. Bush performed a predictable kow-tow to his friends and donors in the dirty energy industry. Breaking the only promise to protect the environment he made during last year's campaign, Bush said he had decided not to do anything to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Bush says that cutting carbon dioxide emissions would require energy companies to switch from burning coal to cleaner technologies.
Who would have thought it? Here we are, in the 21st century, and our President is still making the old, 19th century argument that burning coal is good for the economy. Gosh, if we follow President Junior's line of reasoning to its logical end, we'd all be burning coal in our bedrooms to stay warm at night. After all, what's a little Black Lung disease, so long as we can save a little money?
The truth is that burning coal is NOT the cheapest form of energy available -- it's just the most profitable for the President's campaign contributors. In the long run, natural energy such as the sun and the wind are much more profitable. The only problem with these alternatives is that the technology upon which they are based can be used by everyone. Of course, that's just a problem for the big energy companies, who won't be able to make any more big profits if everyone generates their own energy at home through clean, sustainable methods.
Young President Bush's refusal to do anything about carbon dioxide emissions presents a huge setback for everyday folks who don't have the money to run big air conditioners all year long. You see, the emissions from burning coal not only fill the air with soot and contribute to acid rain, they also contribute global warming. Carbon dioxide is the number one greenhouse gas, and it's been on the rise for decades now. As its levels in the atmosphere rise, so does global temperature.
This relationship has been well documented and is agreed upon overwhelmingly by the scientific community. Just this year, three reports confirming the existence of global warming, its relationship to industrial activity, its likely devastating consequences, and methods for reducing its impact on the natural and human worlds have been released by the intergovernmental panel on climate change. This panel is no group of leftist, granola-crunching environmentalists, but a politically-neutral group of professionals with no agenda but to summarize the scientific research related to climate change. Their reports can be downloaded for free from www.ipcc.ch. No longer can Bush and his industry backers hide their heads in the sand: the scientific community becomes more and more sure that global warming is here, and it's getting worse.
We who live in the Southern half of the United States don't need to be told that it's getting warmer. The last three winters have been the warmest on record, and the summers have hotter and drier than a Bush family oil field in the sands of west Texas. What can we Southerners do, now that our President has turned his back on all attempts to curb global warming? Well, we could embrace the new heat, cooking eggs on the sidewalk as early as April or May. We could try to swim against the tide, staying put and trying to reduce our own role in the great American Earth Bake by reducing our personal consumption of fossil fuels. Of course, there's only so much that one person can do, and the scientists say that even if we cut all carbon dioxide emissions today, the earth would still continue to warm up for at least a good half a century. The signs are clear, and so is my advice: Go north, young Southerner! Go north!
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