The United States of America: An Environmental Menace

Every once in awhile you are presented with an opportunity, nay the right, to get really angry. They don’t come along often, let’s be honest. Our lives should not be a daily jump between anger filled moments. Looking for the silver lining amongst all our clouds may be hard but it ultimately worth it.

So when we do come across these moments, these moments of unequivocal righteous indignation, we must take them by the throat and throttle.

Hopefully, more often than not, there won’t be an actual throat in which to throttle; thus, no jail sentences. This is the position I am now in, and I am just one of the lucky few that have a mouthpiece in which to speak.

Friday, the United States of America saw one of the most blatant showcases of anti-environmentalism imaginable. There are no two ways to look at what the American Senate has allowed to happen. In short, the US Senate has rejected legislation that would have forced large electric utility providers to ensure that at least 15% of their power was generated by renewable sources.

Companies such as Atlanta-based Southern Co., and Ohio’s American Electric Power Co. fought against the legislation. Their argument was that the Southeast of America did not have the flat lands needed for wind and solar generation, enough to reach the 15% target. They also argued that the bill would increase taxpayer’s bills.

To be left literally speechless as a journalist is not a helpful career event. But this is just what has happened: in the process of gouging their customers for as much money as possible, they use the heightening of electricity bills as a means to avoid increasing the amount of renewable energy they use.

Almost poetically, this comes at the same time as a Democratic congressional report accused the White House of manipulating climate change science.

The 16-month investigation, issued Monday by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., found that the White House had leaned on climate scientists to emphasize the uncertainties of global warming and climate change, and in some cases to publically minimize the danger possible.

“The Bush administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming,” the report concludes, which relied on hundreds of internal communications and documents as well as testimony at two congressional hearings.

The report has come under heavy criticism from the Republicans, who have labeled it a “partisan diatribe,” and “rehash and recycled rhetoric.” Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the ranking Republican on the House committee, came back with his own report disputing the Waxman report.

The best line though in defense of the White House’s actions, comes from White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore. “It’s a thinly veiled attempt to distract attention from the administration’s efforts … at the Bali summit,” she said.

If one knew nothing of what was happening in Bali, one may be excused for thinking this was nothing more than another attack against a Republican White House. However, we do know better.

American negotiators at the UN Climate talks in Bali, Indonesia, are refusing to back down in their opposition to mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. According to the lead negotiator, Harlan Watson, the draft statement imposing a 25 and 40 percent cut on emissions below the 1990 levels by 2020 was “…prejudging what the outcome should be.”

Apparently, there are too “many uncertainties” and the evidence is based on only a small number of studies by the UN Climate Panel.

To be so completely naïve and gutless as to refuse these restrictions based upon an environmentally backward government is outrageous. America seems more worried about a possible future where there is no problem, instead of trying to create a future where there isn’t a problem. Being unwilling to cut emissions whether or not it will help, is counterintuitive. Surely taking action is better than doing nothing, which is apparently where America is happy to sit.

Yes there are other countries that are just to blame, and reports have focused on such countries like China and Canada. But for the moment, the sheer amount of political idiocy that surrounds the American position baffles me, and shines my spotlight directly upon their obvious inadequacies.

For the love of all that is green in this world, and the stuff that was green, get off your egotistical and greedy asses and take your place in the world; as a nation willing to help, rather than one that wants to do nothing but perpetuate the problems that have brought us to where we stand; at the brink of disaster.

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