Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cleaning up George’s Mess—Part 4: The Environment

Across the board, Bush has weakened environmental protection, according to Bill McKibben’s section of the Harper’s Magazine article “Undoing Bush.”
“We already faced daunting environmental challenges in 2000, of course, challenges that would have taken decades of good-faith effort to overcome. But rather than attempt the difficult and slow reversal of our cheap-energy economy, Bush has eagerly raced forward into whole new worlds of environmental turmoil.”
Not only have carbon-dioxide emissions increased but gas prices have doubled; and we forfeited our leadership role in global environmental protection by abandoning the Kyoto treaty.
“With real effort and real resources, we might have nudged the emerging economies onto a different energy trajectory in 2000, but by now their path appears set.”
The Bush administration, of course, doesn’t believe in multilateralism, which is one reason it finds itself in the mess its in, a mess of its own creation.

Among other steps, besides strengthening environmental protection standards, the next administration must appoint regulators who don’t come from the organizations they’re meant to regulate, a hallmark of the Bush administration. Furthermore, we can’t expect the relevant bodies to do their important jobs without the necessary resources. Bush’s tax cuts combined with pouring money we don’t have into a senseless war have drained resources away from important environmental work. McKibben also notes that the next president will have to put the environment at the center of global diplomacy.

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