Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Don't Believe Bush's Sudden Awakening On Global Warming

Oil Barons To Be Replaced By Grain Barons

13% Of Americans Have Never Heard Of Global Warming

Global warming prophet and full-blown evangelical, George Monbiot, takes President Bush to task for his suspiciously sudden embrace of the realities of drastic climate change and global warming.

From 'Comment Is Free' :

....Bush's avowed conversion to the cause of cutting emissions is illusory. He is simply drumming up new business for his chums. In his state of the union address last week, he spoke of "the serious challenge of global climate change" and announced that he was raising the government's mandatory target for alternative transport fuels fivefold. This is wonderful news for the grain barons of the red states, who will grow the maize and rapeseed that will be turned into biofuel. It's a catastrophe for everyone else.

An analysis published last year by the Sarasin Bank found that until a new generation of vegetable fuels, made from straw or wood, is developed, "the present limit for the environmentally and socially responsible use of biofuels [is] roughly 5% of current petrol and diesel consumption in the EU and US".

Bush now proposes to raise the proportion to 24% by 2017. Already, though the rich world has replaced just a fraction of 1% of its transport fuels, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that using crops to feed cars has raised world food prices, with serious consequences for the poor. Biofuels fall into the same category as atmospheric smoke and mirrors - a means of avoiding difficult decisions.

But at least, or so we are told, the argument over whether or not manmade climate change is happening is now over.

On Friday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes the first installment of its vast report, which collates the findings of the world's climate scientists. Though conservative in its assumptions, it shows that if you persist in believing that there is no cause for concern, you must have buried your head till only your toes are showing.

If even Bush now grudgingly acknowledges that there's a problem, surely we've seen the last of the cranks and charlatans who had managed to grab so much attention with their claims that global warming wasn't happening?

...with Bush's defection, the band of quacks making (claims that global warming isn't a scientific reality) is diminishing fast.

Now the oil and coal companies that support such people have changed their target.

Instead of trying to persuade us that man-made global warming is a myth, they are seeking to divert us into doing everything except the one thing that has to happen: reducing our consumption of fuel.

It is another species of denial.

George Bush's purpose - to insulate these companies from the need to cut production - is unchanged. He has simply found a new way of framing the argument

Go Here To Read The Fully Monbiot Column

And here's the Bush quotes from the 2007 State Of The Union speech that Monbiot was referring to :

For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, and raise the price of oil, and do great harm to our economy.

It's in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power.

We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- using everything from wood chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes.

Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- and that is nearly five times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.

Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil...

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.

An interesting story here, detailing the awareness of global warming issues in the United States compared to the rest of the world :
Thirteen percent of Americans have never heard of global warming even though their country is the world's top source of greenhouse gases, a 46-country survey showed on Monday.

People in Latin America were most worried while U.S. citizens were least concerned with just 42 percent rating global warming "very serious."

The United States emits about a quarter of all greenhouse gases, the biggest emitter ahead of China, Russia and India.

Thirteen percent of U.S. citizens said they had never heard or read anything about global warming, the survey said.

A U.N. report due on Friday is set to say it is at least 90 percent probable that human activities are the main cause of warming in the past 50 years.

People in China and Brazil were most convinced of the link to human activities and Americans least convinced.