by Plutonium Page
If polar bears could talk:
Polar bear 1: Hey, I was just thinking about last summer. I could swear that there was less ice than the summer before.
Polar bear 2: It's not just you. There is less ice. And there wasn't enough food! You know me: I'm usually pretty laid back, but I'm really scared. What's going to happen?
Polar bear 1: I don't know. I'm scared too. But you know what? I know why the ice is melting. And there are some humans who want to help... and some who don't give a damn. Let me tell you about a big meeting in Montreal, where science, reason, and diplomacy are blocked at every turn by the Bush administration's pet delegates.
So, what is this "big meeting"? Today is the last day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal. It is a historical conference because it is the very first meeting of the countries who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol; one goal of the conference is to discuss the extension of the Kyoto Protocol.
So, how did the conference go? There was definite progress made, but not without difficulty, and that's the subject of this post. Here are a couple of quotes to sum up the conference:
"When you walk around the conference hall here, delegates are saying there are lots of issues on the agenda, but there's only one real problem, and that's the United States," said Bill Hare of Greenpeace International. (AP via CNN)
"Climate change is a global challenge that demands a global response. Yet there are nations that resist, voices that attempt to diminish the urgency or dismiss the science, or declare, either in word or indifference, that this is not our problem to solve. Well, let me tell you, it is our problem to solve... To the reticent nations, including the United States, I say this: There is such a thing as a global conscience." (Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, quoted in the LA Times.)
Regardless of Martin's own tarnished environmental record, his statement truly sums up the problem at the conference, as does Bill Hare's: the US delegates were one big stumbling block.
One of them is an anti-science, oil lobby-connected, Bush donating creature named Harlan Watson.
So, what do you know about Harlan Watson? His State Department biography will tell you that he's the Bush administration's "Senior Climate Negotiator and Special Representative". Digging a little deeper on the internets, you'll find that he has donated $6,000 to George W. Bush's campaigns (2000 and 2004), plus $1,000 to the RNC, among other Republican donations. No big surprise, I suppose.
But it gets better:
Environmentalists are unhappy with the job the lead U.S. climate negotiator, Harlan Watson, has been doing in the ongoing Montreal talks on how to combat global warming.
Watson has spent the past week in Montreal touting the administration's record on climate change. He said there is no reason the United States and other countries that oppose mandatory carbon dioxide limits should have to talk about what should be done once the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to cut global greenhouse gases by 7 percent by 2012, expires.
Watson's position and the environmentalists' reaction should hardly be surprising -- considering his apparent popularity with the oil industry.
A Feb. 6, 2001, fax sent to the White House by oil giant Exxon Mobil proposed involving Watson more closely in international climate negotiations.
A while ago, I wrote about ExxonMobile's participation in the GOP war on science, namely that they have donated millions of dollars to conservative think tanks, as well as media outlets, to perpetuate the talking point - propaganda, if you will - that there is little or no evidence for global warming.
So, it's no wonder that the Exxon memo (fax) included the following (from the WaPo article again):
The memo, which was provided last week to The Washington Post by the advocacy group Environmental Defense, also urged the Bush administration to appoint to prominent international posts several Americans who have questioned dire global warming scenarios. The proposal to appoint Watson was first reported by the London Telegraph in 2002.
The United States on Wednesday rejected a Canadian bid to draw Washington into future global talks on climate change, a new round that would extend mandatory cutbacks in carbon emissions.
"It is our belief that progress cannot be made through these formalized discussions," U.S. delegation head Paula Dobriansky told reporters as a two-week U.N. climate conference, involving more than 180 nations, entered its final days.
The article includes her other, similarly vague, statements. She might as well just come out and say "Sign the Kyoto Treaty? Not a chance. We walked out in 2001, and we're not going to fold, because Kyoto would be bad for our economy. That's what George says, anyway... and by the way, I donated to his campaign, too."
Despite the difficulties posed by the US delegates, the conference had some success in creating a "road map" for the post-2012 "son of Kyoto" treaty.
However, the US is the number one producer of carbon emissions in the world. Without the US participating in the Kyoto Treaty, it will be difficult to decrease emissions to the point that the climate crisis can be slowed.
No matter. What's more important? SUVs, or polar bears? Hummers or native peoples whose way of life is changing forever?
I think it's obvious where
ExxonMobile's the Bush administration's priorities lie.