The Kyoto Ice
How global warming went cold
by Daniel Carter
For years, scientists have said global warming will sink Venice and
drown Hawaii. But after September 11, American media focused their attention
on the attacks, leaving the Kyoto Protocol and global warming out in
Miraculously, big papers actually covered the Oct. 2001 global warming
conference in Marrakesh. But when stories did appear, they were practically
buried behind obituaries. Worse, green politicians and activists who
normally fight for the press's attention gagged themselves for
fear of seeming insensitive: "Environmental groups that earlier
this year waged million-dollar ad campaigns against President Bush's
energy policies and efforts to roll back environmental regulations have
muted their criticism, for fear of appearing churlish or unpatriotic,"
wrote Eric Pianin in The Washington Post on Oct. 21.
In March, the United States rejected the 1997 Kyoto treaty that legally
bound the U.S. to lowering greenhouse gas emissions by seven percent
from 1990 levels. (America produces the most emissions of any country
- 5410 million tons in 1998, or 25 percent of all global emissions,
according to a UN report). But when the time came to hash out details
for cutting emissions in October, the administration claimed it was
too busy licking wounds to actively participate further complained lowering
emissions levels would cripple an already anemic economy.
Many said the protocol pullout was not about global warming at all,
but America's refusal to be an international team player.
Even the Taliban thinks so. On Oct. 30 The Post ran a profile of a
Taliban terrorist, Salahuddin Khaled: "Khaled's catalogue
of complaints against the United States includes the activities of the
CIA, the presence of U.S. troops on "holy land" in Saudi Arabia
dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan during World War II and even Washington's
rejection of the Kyoto treaty on global warming."
Full text of the Kyoto Protocol can be found at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.html
- Shirley Dang
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