Sunday, February 4, 2007

"We are a small contributor when you look at the rest of the world"

So sayeth US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman on 2/2/07 in response to the release of the UN's Report on Global Warming (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Let's see: the US contains 4.5% of the world's population, but produces 25% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. I suppose that means we are not responsible for the other 75% and that makes our contribution "small." Sure, I can get behind that. He further goes on to complain that if we were to cap emissions we might lose 5 million American jobs. This from an administration that has been more aggressive in its promotion of deindustrialization/globalization than any previous administration that has resulted in the loss of far more than 5 million American jobs to date and counting. Ok, I can buy that. The Bush/Cheney administration is the big friend of American labor and protector of our jobs. That makes total sense.

The international scientific community has now made it clear that even an immediate 70-80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would still condemn us to rising global temperatures for centuries because of accumulated CO2. Average temperatures will rise between 3.2 to 7.2 degress Fahrenheit by 2100. Sea levels will rise from 7-23 inches or even more. 300 million people will be displaced from low-lying areas around the world. At least a million people will die. Weather will become more and more bizarre and of course many species will perish. Ah, but none of this compares to the fact that we could lose 5 million American jobs and oil industry profits, which by financial quarters have been in the multiBILLIONS/company, could be hurt - let's not get into how a restructuring of industry, alternative energy sources, and emissions caps could not only save jobs but employ far more people who've lost their jobs.

Could there be any clearer, any starker statement of the reactionary nature of the people running things in our country and why they and their outlook need to be swept away in a tidal wave of the people? Global warming is the gravest crisis in the planet's history, yet they fiddle while the planet burns. These "leaders" are criminally reckless, their worldview and system outmoded and despicable. Would that we could retire them all to a moon outpost where they could all live out the rest of their benighted days in a landscape suitable to their husbandry.

In reading these stories about global warming and the other crimes of the Bush regime I am reminded a lot lately of Dylan's 1960's anthem:

The Times They Are A-Changin'
by Bob Dylan

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

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