An international panel of experts recently announced that man-madepollution is having a much greater effect on global warming thanpreviously suspected. Despite that, the issue of global warming hasreceived very little attention during the presidential campaign. ButGreat Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston says weshouldn’t be looking to the men who would be president for leadership onthis hot issue:
An international panel of experts recently announced that man-made pollution
is having a much greater affect on global warming than previously suspected.
Despite that, the issue of global warming has received very little attention during the
presidential campaign. But Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston
says we shouldn’t be looking to the men who would be President for leadership on this
It was predictable enough. Democratic Presidential Candidate Al Gore managed to give
the perception of being green, without ever really trying the color on. As a senator, Gore
penned the best-seller Earth in the Balance that won him a reputation for being an
environmental visionary. But during his eight years in the White House, Gore has
done little to put his thoughts into action. The Clinton-Gore administration’s record on
climate change is particularly poor. In 1997, the world’s leaders gathered in Kyoto, Japan
to sign an international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon
dioxide the primary cause of global warming. Three years later, the U.S. still hasn’t
ratified the agreement, which is referred to as the Kyoto Protocol.
But Gore still wants us to believe he’ll be the environmental
president. Last week he personally contacted the president of
Colombia and told him he was concerned about the effect that plans to
drill for oil in the rainforest would have on local tribes. That’s
tough talk from a man whose family holds about a half a million
dollars of stock in a U.S. based company involved in the project.
Republican George Bush is even worse. When David Letterman recently
grilled him about air pollution. Bush’s big commitment was to say,
“sooner or later we’re going to have to make a significant change.”
That’s a strong statement from the governor of Texas. According to
the EPA, Texas leads the nation in the number of industrial plants
violating clean air rules.
So the winner is – neither one. But then again, I didn’t expect there
to be a winner. The very nature of government forces leaders to
compromise their values until there’s virtually nothing left.
But it doesn’t really matter on the grand scale of things. The United
States may be the most powerful nation in the world, but according to
the U.S. Institute for Policy Studies, 51 of the top 100 economies
are companies – not countries.
Which is precisely why a recent announcement by seven of the world’s
major corporations was so significant. They’re voluntarily committing
to make significant reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions
ahead of any government requirements. The companies have pledged to
reduce their combined emissions more than 20% below 1990 levels. This
announcement follows on the heels of similar ones made earlier this
year by Polaroid, Johnson & Johnson and IBM. They’ve all promised to
cut emissions by 25% below 1994 levels.
Compare all this with the Kyoto agreement which the government has
yet to ratify. It’s only asking for a reduction of 6% in carbon
dioxide emissions below 1990 levels. So Bush or Gore? It doesn’t
really matter. They’re both fiddling around while the planet slowly