By Вen Li
So George W. Bush, the bumbling oilman, turned tail and ran from the Kyoto Accords. Just behind him were his big oil company amigos cheering him on. And who was left behind? Worried environmentalists, the European Union and developing nations.
Countries agreed in the Kyoto Accord to reduce emissions to 95 per cent of 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Many people agree Kyoto is flawed, partially because nobody is on track to meet the targets. In fact, emissions continue to rise in industrialized countries.
But Kyoto is a starting point. Bush’s decision to pull out is short-sighted and does not bode well for the next four years. The United States is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, but Bush said, “I will not accept a plan that will harm our economy and hurt our workers.”
While Bush seems to breathe the mantra “money equals happiness,” what happens to the workers who suffer from various respiratory problems and their children who suffer from health problems?
Good thing the economy’s booming to help pay all those hospital bills. As well, Dubya demands developing countries climb aboard. Developing countries emit only a fraction of what industrial countries produce. Since industrialized nations put the world in this situation, it’s up to them to fix it.
Bush assumes the Kyoto Accords are partly responsible for the U.S.’s energy woes. To solve the energy crisis, Bush plans to drill for more oil. And not just anywhere, but up in the environmentally-sensitive area of the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I guess his oilmen friends who donated huge election campaign funds can barely contain their glee at the opportunity to explore the virgin wilderness. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are only 5.7 billion barrels of oil in the ANWR which is equivalent to only 22 months of oil imports. Bush will destroy a beautiful area so he can briefly satiate the maw of an energy-hungry country. Dubya also plans to “use the tools of diplomacy to increase the flow of crude oil from foreign suppliers” and he will remind leaders of the Persian Gulf governments that “our relationships are not merely commercial, but strategic–they own the oil, and America offers its protection.” Bush the bully anyone?
Sadly, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien seems content to bend over for Dubya. No doubt visions of Albertan votes dance in his eyes while he dreams of a fourth term. Alberta stands to make huge wads of money, what with our expertise in oil drilling and non-environmental thinking. However, Canada must stand with the EU. We appear as the U.S.’s sole ally, and joining the EU will knock Dubya down a notch and show him why we need the Kyoto Accords.