Global warming talk, no action

In a bizarre example of capitalist “spin,” the Bush administration recently issued an overdue report on emissions controls progress. In the report, officials predicted that U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases will continue to increase.

The Bush administration estimates that emissions by the United States of gases that contribute to global warming will

grow nearly as fast through the next decade as they did the previous decade, according to the report to the United Nations.

This disastrous state of affairs was declared a success. “The Climate Action Report will show that the president’s portfolio of actions addressing climate change and his unparalleled financial commitments are working,” said Kristen A. Hellmer, a spokeswoman for the White House on environmental matters.

Environmentalists strongly disagreed. According to the new report, government policy will result in emissions growing 11 percent in 2012 from 2002. Last decade, emissions grew at a rate of 11.6 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. These figures do not represent a significant reduction.

Environmentalists called Bush’s targets “business as usual.” Given recent findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about the urgency of the global warming crisis, the administration’s policies are unacceptable.

“If you set the hurdle one inch above the ground you can’t fail to clear it,” said David D. Doniger, the director of climate policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Now more than ever, the scientific community is united in a consensus that global warming is a crisis for the planet caused by the burning of fossil fuels as part of untrammeled capitalist industrial development. Capitalist development has always been motivated by short term profit for the few with no concern given to long-range human or environmental concerns.

Enforced silence on polar bears

In another example of the administration’s predilection for altering the discourse about global warming, the Bush administration is ordering federal wildlife officials headed for international meetings on polar bears not to talk about how climate change and melting ice are affecting the animals.

Two memos were written in late February putting strict limits on what U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees could discuss at meetings in Norway and Russia.

A third memo said the policy would apply for trips to those two nations as well as Canada and “any northern country.”

The memos come soon after the administration announced that it would consider protecting the bears under the Endangered Species Act. Only 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears remain and they are struggling to survive because the ice sheets they use to hunt prey are shrinking.

Kieran Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group, said the memos show the administration’s desperation to change the discourse about global warming.

“The polar bear has created a 24/7 forum for the U.S. government to be grilled about what its position is on global warming, and it’s really put the Bush administration in a tight, tight corner,” said Suckling, whose group sued over the animals. “It’s crazy to say, ‘The polar bear is endangered but we’re not going to do anything about global warming.’”

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